Biblical Archaeology Review 22:4, July/August 1996

Smashing the Idols: Piecing Together an Edomite Shrine in Judah

By Rudolph CohenYigal Yisrael

Now that we have uncovered some of the most unusual finds ever unearthed in Israel, we are faced with the problem of interpreting them and the site where they were discovered.a Clearly, ‘En Hatzeva, about 20 miles southwest of the Dead Sea, was an ancient religious center dating to the seventh-sixth centuries B.C.E. But is the site Edomite, as some believe? And if it is, did the Edomites invade and conquer this area of Judah, or did enterprising Edomite merchants merely set up their own enclave there?

Whatever the answer, the evidence is extraordinary—the kind of finds an archaeologist always dreams of, but seldom unearths: a hoard of religious artifacts, each completely restorable because every fragment of every object has been recovered!

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