A massive cult complex, dating back about 3,300 years, has been discovered at the site of Tel Burna in Israel.
While archaeologists have not fully excavated the cult complex, they can tell it was quite large, as the courtyard alone was 52 by 52 feet (16 by 16 meters). Inside the complex, researchers discovered three connected cups, fragments of face masks, massive jars that are almost as big as a person and burnt animal bones that may indicate sacrificial rituals.
The archaeologists said they aren’t sure who was worshiped at the complex. “The letters of Ugarit [an ancient site in modern-day Syria] suggest that of the Canaanite pantheon, Baal, the Canaanite storm god, would have been the most likely candidate,” Itzhaq Shai, a professor at Ariel University who is directing a research project at Tel Burna, told LiveScience in an email.
The researchers said they can’t rule out that a female deity, such as the ancient war goddess Anat, was worshiped there, Shai said.
The artifacts include fragments of two masks. “The burna mask fragments, both of noses, are quite interesting, because they are quite large, although … they were clearly meant to be worn,” Shai said.
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SOURCE: NBC News
Owen Jarus, LiveScience