[Israel] A cemetery in southern Israeli city of Ashqelon has recently caught the attention of the World. The reason being a burial altar that has been discovered from there. The 24 inch granite structure is reportedly 2000 year old and is decorated with carvings of three bull heads, ribbons, and laurel wreaths.The Altar was unearthed reportedly on May 17, 2010.
An ancient port city Ashqelon saw its growth in the Roman period and was influenced by the Hellenistic culture. The place from where this particular altar has been found was a Pagan locality in the bygone era. Being one of the oldest port cities in the Holy Land, Ashgelon is believed to have human settlements as early as the Neolithic period which began around 9, 500 B.C. Astonishing but this is true!
Pagans worshipped the Syrian goddess Atargatis, among other gods such as Isis, Apollo, and Hercules. The bull heads in the altar might signify 'strength and power' and might have close association with god Zeus.
According to Dr. Yigal Israel, Ashkelon District Archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "Just like you see in today's cemeteries, well-to-do families in ancient times also showed off in accordance with their style, status, and financial means."
Dr. Israel adds that few burial structures were discovered, which served as family tombs, and cist tombs that were used for interring individuals.
Along with the altar, researchers have located many family burial structures at the Ashqelon site thereby pulling a loose thread to uncover some hidden facts and findings. Seems a lot much similarity with Indus Valley Civilization of India. It really boggles up the mind of the connection these two places hold.
21st century stands witness to so many connections getting unfurled slowly but leaving its mark for a long time!