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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Discovery Linked to Biblical Stone Structures

In the Jordan valley, researchers from the University of Haifa have found five structures, each designed in the shape of a giant human "foot." The structures, says archaeologist Adam Zertal, who led the team, "are the first sites that the People of Israel built upon entering Canaan and they testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot." The foot, he says, was a symbol used to mark ownership of a territory, control over an enemy, and a link between people and the land.
The stone structures, it's believed, could be connected with what's known in the Bible as"gilgal" (in Hebrew), sites that were used for ceremonial assemblies and rituals. The excavated "feet" seem to have been built at the right time, and are the right shape and size to have been used for human gatherings. "I am an archaeologist and only deal with the scientific findings," Zertal says, "so I do not go into the additional meanings of the discovery, if there are any."
Here's what's neat: The Hebrew word for "foot"—regel—is also used to refer to a festival, holiday, and ascending to see the face of God. The Hebrew term "aliya la-regel," which literally means "ascending to the foot," has come to be known as a "pilgrimage" in English. Eventually, "aliya la-regel" became associated with Jerusalem—which became Israel's religious center—but it seems the "foot" structures in the Jordan valley could be the source of the term. "Now, following these discoveries," Zertal says, "the meanings of the terms become clear. Identifying the 'foot' enclosures as ancient Israeli ceremonial sites leads us to a series of new possibilities to explain the beginnings of Israel, of the People of Israel's festivals and holidays." —Heather Wax


Russ said...

It seems that there should be some cross reference/analysis about the types of descriptions the bible uses when speaking of feet. Example: Bronze, Clay, Fire, etc.
This would take some time to complete and then a further cross ref. should be done as to the meanings and locations of the "feet" spoken about in the above article.