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A 2,800-year-old inscribed stone altar, found within a Moabite sanctuary in the ancient city of Ataroth in Jordan, may shed light on an ancient biblical war.
The altar bears two inscriptions. The words are in the Moabite language and script, while the numerals in the inscriptions are in Hieratic (an Egyptian writing system). The altar appears to date to a time after Mesha, king of Moab, successfully rebelled against the Kingdom of Israel and conquered Ataroth (sometimes spelled Atarot), a city that the Kingdom of Israel had controlled. By this time, Israel had broke in two with a northern kingdom that retained the name Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah.
Hebrew - Bible - Rebellion - Mesha - Moab
The Hebrew Bible mentions the rebellion, saying that before Mesha rebelled, Moab had to give Israel a yearly tribute of thousands of lambs and a vast amount of ram wool. The rebellion is also described in the so-called Mesha stele discovered in 1868 in Dhiban, Jordan, which claims that Mesha conquered Ataroth and killed many of the city's inhabitants.
The altar was discovered while the sanctuary was being excavated, in 2010. The altar and sanctuary were recently described in the journal Levant.
Inscriptions - Altar - Bronze - Capture - Ataroth
One of the two inscriptions written on the altar appears to describe bronze that was plundered after the capture of Ataroth. "One might speculate that quantities of bronze looted from the conquered city of [Ataroth] at some later date were presented as an offering at the shrine and recorded on this altar," the researchers wrote in the journal article.
The second inscription on...
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