Year of publication:
Titel der Quelle:
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Angaben zur Quelle:
381 (2019) 211-236
Lakhish (Israel) Antiquities
Excavations conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority at Tel Lachish exposed the southern half of the six-chambered gate in Level III. In the eastern chamber, a gate shrine was uncovered. The shrine was split in two: a larger northern room and a smaller southern room. The southern room, which served as the holy of holies, had a niche in its southern wall in front of which a double altar was placed. Dozens of bowls and oil lamps were revealed inside the shrine. At some point, evidently prior to the destruction of Level III by Sennacherib in 701 b.c.e., the shrine was desecrated and sealed. This act was evident in the breakage of the altar's horns and the placement of a latrine in the holy of holies. The available data suggests that the desecration of the shrine should be associated with Hezekiah's cultic reform (2 Kgs 18:4).
The city gate of Level III at biblical Lachish dates to the Iron Age IIB period and was destroyed in the Assyrian conquest in 701 b.c.e. In 2015–2016, Saar Ganor and Igor Kreimerman excavated the southern wing of the inner gate. In a recent issue of this journal, Ganor and Kreimerman (2019) suggested that the innermost, southern chamber of the gatehouse was a “gate shrine,” that the “gate shrine” was desecrated during the reform of Hezekiah, that it was turned into a symbolic toilet, and then sealed. The present paper has four aims. First, it presents an integral picture of the inner gatehouse based on all the excavations which took place there. Second, it argues that there was no gate shrine in the gatehouse. Third, it argues that the assumed gate shrine was not desecrated during the time of Hezekiah’s reform. Fourth, it shows that the innermost, southern chamber contained an installation of secular nature that parallels that in the innermost northern side of the gatehouse.
Description / Table of Contents:
Ussishkin, David. Was a "gate shrine" built at the Level III inner city gate of Lachish? A response to Ganor and Kreimerman. "BASOR" 385 (2021) 153-170.
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