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A 3200-year-old scepter, discovered in a Canaanite temple at Lachish, may be the first archaeological evidence of life-sized divine statues in the Levant, according to a new study published in the journal, Antiquity.  Numerous Mesopotamian texts record that life-sized statues of gods once stood in ancient temples, and an Assyrian relief shows life-sized statues being carried away from a looted city by Assyrian soldiers.  Despite this, none have yet been discovered in-situ. The study’s author, Yosef Garfinkel, suggests that life-sized statues of gods may have been made of wood and other perishable material and might have been adorned with gold, silver and precious stones which were looted.  The spatula-shaped scepter was unearthed in the cella, or “holy of holies” of the temple at Lachish beside a small smiting god statue; it was made from bronze and originally coated in silver.  The scepter is decorated with a series of dots in concentric circles, and is nearly identical to a spatula-scepter held by a small, gold figurine of a Canaanite seated god discovered at Megiddo.  It is also similar to a spatula-scepter previously unearthed at Hazor.  A contextual and iconographic comparison of these has led Garfinkel to suggest the scepter from Lachish was once held by a life-sized statue of a Canaanite that may have been up to 1m in height in a seated position.  

OFF-SITE LINKS:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/sceptres-of-lifesized-divine-statues-from-canaanite-lachish-and-hazor/EF4CB5E140AA376A63CBBBC760D52F1D/core-reader

https://www.timesofisrael.com/ancient-scepter-found-in-south-may-have-been-part-of-life-sized-divine-statue/

https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-first-evidence-of-life-sized-divine-statues-found-in-lachish-1.8930283

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ABRT 28 | 8/1/2019