Today, I brought to the lab in BIU a few things that had come back from the conservation lab.
In addition to the jar fragments with the inscription mentioned yesterday (and today we found some additional fragments of this jar in the pottery restoration – but without any more writing), there were several interesting objects. This includes a group of metal objects, including several arrowheads and a blade, as well as several other objects, which were all fused together. These objects had all been found 4 seasons ago in Area D, in the 9th cent. destruction level (not far from where we found the altar this year) within a beautiful “Late Philistine Decorated Ware” jug (which is also being restored now).
This is a picture of a group of the Late Philistine Decorated Ware (from Area A, but from the same destruction level)
And here is a picture of Shira Gur Arieh and yours truly excavating the jug with the metal objects during the 2008 season. Due to the large quantity of finds that were taken out that day (and that we did not want to leave complete vessels exposed overnight for fear that they would be stolen), we had to work in the afternoon and even after sundown, so we put on headlamps to be able to remove the last objects (including the jug with the metal objects group) from the ground.
Too many finds… :-)
Very interesting find! While its meaning and function is not yet clear, it might very well be related to a cultic/religious function if connected to the altar and its vicinity.
This definitely warrants further study!