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Portable Shrine Models

Ancient Architectural Clay Models from the Levant

Hava Katz
Publication Year:
188pp. Illustrated throughout in black and white: 10 tables, 230 figures (including 66 photographs), 1 map
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Portable shrine models with architectural features are unique objects within the assemblages of material culture, even though they appear in a variety of cultures throughout the ancient world. This book concentrates on models from the Land of Israel, with comparisons to models from the geographic-historical units of the Levant. The basic assumption of this study is that these models do not attempt an exact representation of specific buildings, although they do enable analogies to architecture of early periods. Above all, the shrine model was a symbol of the house of God. Religious, ethnical, political and social aspects of the models are examined in reference to written evidence, and the archaeological assemblages in which they are found. Although these models were not as common as other cult objects such as altars and figurines, their wide distribution provides further evidence of the close relationship between the diverse peoples of the region.

Hava Katz was the Chief Curator of the National Treasures of the Israel Antiquities Authority for 18 years. For the last two years, she has been the Chief Curator for Special Projects of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The present publication, based on her Ph.D. dissertation in archaeology at Haifa University, Israel, combines her passion for archaeology and museum artifacts.