Photo of a reconstructed Israelite horned altar on display at Tel Beersheva (Beersheba).  This altar was discovered by archaeologists excavating the ancient ruins of Beersheba.  This type of altar was used for sacrificial offering.  The altar may have been been in use as late as the 8th or 7th centuries BC until it was destroyed by the reforms of King Josiah or the Assyrian army.  Ancient horned altars were also found at Ekron, Megiddo, and Tel Dan in both Israelite and Philistine controlled areas.    

In Exodus 30 of the Hebrew Bible Moses was instructed to make a horned altar of acacia wood covered with gold leaf in order for the Israelites to burn incense on it.  The earliest known use of the written word 'Israel' is from a conquest list recorded by the administration of Pharaoh Merneptah (1212-1202 BC) discovered by archaeologist Sir William M. F. Petrie (1853-1942).  Israel was declared to be a people no later than about 1200 BC.  

Archaeologists found evidence of horned altars pre-dating Israelite civilization in Crete, Cyprus, Mycenae, and Santorini.  A two horned altar with dripping blood was shown on a wall mural found at Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island of Santorini. Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash by the eruption of Thera c. 1650 BC - 1550 BC. Spyridon Marinatos excavated and directed restoration at Akrotiri to preserve the cultural heritage there. There is an image of the altar in a book by Syridon's daughter Nanno Marinatos, "Akrotiri, Thera and the East Mediterranean," 1993 (pgs. 127, 157, 166). The book was available in PDF format during the time of this publication at Akrotiri, Thera and the East Mediterranean

In 1901 archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans published findings from his excavation of Knossos, Crete and also a drawing of a horned altar found in a grave at Mycenae, Greece by Schliemann.  The final destruction of Knossos was dated by Evans to about 1400 BC, but others dated the destruction to 1200 BC or later.  Mycenae was likely destroyed close to 1200 BC as well.   

Etching on a pyxis found in the ruins of Knossos showing a horned altar 
From:  MYCENAEAN TREE AND PILLAR CULT, Sir Arthur Evans, 1901, Macmillan and Co, LTD,  New York, London

A gold covered horned incense altar (?) found in a grave on the acropolis ruins of Mycenae
From:  MYCENAEAN TREE AND PILLAR CULT, Sir Arthur Evans, 1901, Macmillan and Co, LTD,  New York, London

Two horned altars were found in Cyprus from the 13th century and 12th century BC. A photo of a reconstruction of a two horned altar from Myrtou/Pighades, Cyprus may be seen at: Pighades, Cyprus Two Horned Altar

Archaeologists excavating the Philistine ruins of Gath on Tel Tzafit found a two horned altar. The altar is similar to four horned altars found elsewhere in Israel. The Philistines may have come from Cyprus or Crete before settling on the southern Israeli coast. The Israeli periodical Haaretz published a photo of the Philistine altar in 2011: Philistine Altar at Gath

There are lists of sacrifices, burnt offerings, and peace offerings of bulls, pigeons, etc  from records recorded on clay tablets at Ras Shamra (Ugarit) on the Syrian Mediterranean coast.  The destruction of Ugarit also occurred close to 1180 BC during a time of chaos in the Eastern Med. resulting in the destruction and abandonment of cities.  These religious sacrificial  practices predated the establishment of Israel.

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