Solomon’s temple at the southern part of today’s Israel was known as the one temple for worship dating, from 10th century B.C. up till its last in 586 B.C. It has been found that another temple from the Iron Age (near Jerusalem) has overthrown the idea of the old temple. The site is at Tel Motza a few miles away from Jerusalem and was known since 1990, but excavation only started in 2012 when old bits and pieces of the temple were found. It dates back to 900 B.C. and had been used until it was destructed or ruined.
What was uncovered?
A group of researchers lead by Kisilevitz, along with Oded Lipschits (the director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University), published their paper in a magazine after extensive research. It has been mentioned in the Bible about how the religious manners of Solomon’s temple were upheld while all others were never to be practiced within the border of King Hezekiah and King Josiah’s rule. It was shocking to find this Jerusalem temple so close near the kingdom within, denying the king’s rule. At the borders of the fort of Arad, a similar temple was found during the same time of the first temple.
How this could have started
The site did not only serve as a place for the temple but was the point where grains were stored and collected and given away. It was also a common meeting point for people and also for higher grade people. So it served as a great place with an open courtyard and Tal Motza was nearby – giving an economic significance to the area. At the center of the courtyard is a high slab on which animal sacrifices were done.
Clay-made heads of animals and humans were found around the open yard, buried. They acted not as idols for worship, but as a medium through which communication to God had taken place. This is not seen as surprising as, during the rule of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, this practice had also been mentioned in the Bible texts.