A head fragment of an animal figurine, 8th century BCE. The slightly protruding jaw, round ears and remnants of mane identify this animal as a rare lion figurine. Beasts of prey were seldom depicted among figurines in the environs of Jerusalem of the First Temple Period, making this a rare find.

150 typical Judahite figurine fragments we uncovered in the sifting, consisting mostly of a variety of four legged animals (mostly horses, some with riders). Since almost all known figurines from Judah are found in fragmented condition, some have related them to the Biblical account of Hezekiah’s or Josiah’s religious reforms, during which symbols of idol worship were systematically destroyed and abolished.

The assemblage from the Temple Mount has an absence of foreign figurines and a high percentage of bird/pinched nose head fragments. We suspect that the absence of foreign motifs in the Temple Mount figurine assemblage may be related to a Judahite rejection of outside influences during Iron Age II, which found it greatest manifestation in the cultic and national center on the Temple Mount.

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