By Elisabeth Sawerthal
Last week we published a couple of pictures of a group of objects from the PEF collection (see blog post “PEF Mystery Objects” from 27 January 2016), seeking suggestions regarding their identity.
The original image shows miniature plaster copies of the standing stones in the High Place at Gezer. It is a reconstruction of the frontispiece in R.A.S. Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer 1902-1905 and 1907-1909, Vol.2, 1912. London: John Murray.
Here an extract from Distant Views of the Holy Land by Felicity Cobbing (Executive Secretary) and David Jacobson (former PEQ Editor) with some further information about this fascinating monument:
“The open-air High Place was an important feature of Canaanite religion, where the deity could come down to earth to commune with the priest or chosen intermediary. Parallels in the Hebrew Bible include the summit of Mount Moriah, the site of Abraham’s sacrifice of a ram, and the Mountain of God in the Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The Samaritan worship on the summit of Mount Gerizim can also be seen as a continuation of the same tradition. The standing stones … are examples of masseboth: sacred stones associated with open-air worship rather than with an enclosed structure.”