This article was originally published on October 31, 2012. It has been updated.—Ed.
Over the past few years, excavations at Tell es-Safi have exposed some remarkable cultic discoveries, including a horned altar, featured as the Prize Find in BAR’s 2012 Dig Issue.* Bar-Ilan University professor and Tell es-Safi/Gath excavation director Aren Maeir describes the find and its relation to Philistine and Israelite religion, history and the Biblical text:
How does an archaeologist interpret ancient remnants of religion and cult? In a second video, Aren Maeir describes how archaeologists use small finds to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at ancient religion:
Learn more in the BAS Library:
* Aren M. Maeir, “Prize Find: Horned Altar from Tell es-Safi Hints at Philistine Origins,” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2012.
Carl S. Ehrlich and Aren M. Maeir, “Excavating Philistine Gath: Have We Found Goliath’s Hometown?” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2001.
Aren M. Maeir, “Did Captured Ark Afflict Philistines with E.D.?” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2008.
Aren M. Maeir, “Archaeological Views: Is Biblical Archaeology Passé?” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2007.
Learn more in Bible History Daily:
Watch Professor Maeir give an interesting overview of the site along with an introduction to the modern archaeological toolkit in “Video Interview with Tell es-Safi/Gath’s Aren Maeir.”
Learn more about the horned altar at Tell es-Safi in “Where Did the Philistines Come From?”
Discover how jewelry and costumes worn by the Sea Peoples can shed light on cross-cultural relationships developed in the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age southern Levant in “Adornment in the Southern Levant” by Tell es-Safi/Gath excavator Josephine Verduci.