I always treat articles like this — heck, just about any article (or, for that matter, paper) on Bible-related archaeological “findings” — with a spoonful of salt. That said, this is interesting:
Archaeologists Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, said, “The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple. Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown.”
“The iconography points to a pantheon of deities, as some scholars believe, or to two main deities, something of a duality,” says archaeology writer Julia Fridman, writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“Interestingly, there are vastly more female figurines and representations found on shrines than there are male ones. The evidence points to the worship of at least two deities. . . .
Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou of the University of Exeter said, “There is increasing evidence that the ancient Israelites worshipped a number of gods alongside their ‘national’ patron deity, Yahweh. The goddess Asherah was among these deities.
“Not only is she mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), but inscriptions dating to the eighth and seventh centuries BCE attest to her worship alongside Yahweh in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Taken together, the biblical and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that Asherah was worshipped by some Israelites as the wife of Yahweh. They were likely a divine couple at the head of the local pantheon.””
Go read the whole thing, then read Daniel Peterson’s classic, “Nephi and His Asherah“. ..bruce..