The carved stone is a ritual type known from Canaanite sites; its out-of-context location in the doorframe of a Jewish structure suggests that it had lost its cult function in this later setting. Materials were often reused in the ancient world; in the process, some lose their sanctity. The profanation of once-sacred objects can be the result of intentional degradation of a foreign material culture. More commonly, objects lose their meaning as they are reused for simple utility purposes. Kinneret College archaeologist Mordechai Aviam told The Jewish Press “This is the unique development of archaeological hills in Israel, where successive generations mingle ritual objects on their way from the world of the Canaanite mythology to monotheism.”
BAS Library Members: Read “Sacred Stones in the Desert” by Uzi Avner as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review.