Worship and Faith

Faith and religious rituals are an ensemble of thoughts and acts. Some of the acts leave material remnants, which in most cases are mute and challenge the archaeologist to interpret them using historical sources and information provided by the archaeological context. The historical sources  usually focus on the beliefs and cult practices, and do not provide much detail on the layman folk worship. In these cases archaeology fills in these gaps.

In many cases the ritual objects were made of perishable organic materials, or crafted in periods in which edicts were strictly kept, and thus, large portions of the religious acts might be all together absent from the archaeological record. Despite this, dozens of small finds have helped in interpreting and illustrating the texts, and often give us a glimpse into the ritual practices and beliefs of laymen pilgrims, respective to their doctrines of faith and their time.

It is very difficult to trace in the archaeological record the ritual activity that took place in the First and Second Temples since the sifting project yields mainly small finds. While it is possible that small fragments from the Temple structures where found, it would be very difficult to identify them as such. Ritual vessels that were used in the Temple were most likely looted and remelted . Thus, the prevalent ritual activity remains left for us to study would be the bones which may reflect sacrificial and pilgrimage activity. These kinds of studies are complicated and, in our case, require many Carbon 14 tests in order to date the bones. This topic is planned to be studied in the future.

So for now, this section deals with objects non-related to the Jewish religious activity. The objects that have been lost to time, they include various vessels, amulets, charms, figurines, religious symbols, and other finds, which assert the daily personal and communal acts of faith.

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