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A WALL IN THE NEGEV

Pictures copyright 2003 Arieh Bar-Lev

This wall is known as the K-Line and it is located between Mt. Ramon in the central Negev (100 km south from Beer-Sheva) and Mt. Romem. The length of this wall is 4.6 km. Israeli ecologist Yigal Granot has some questions about this wall. If you have any experience with ancient walls such as this, please send us you comments.

Above:  It is believed that this wall may date back to the Early Bronze (EB) time period. The picture above is of a part of the wall in the Mt. Ramon area. To the right of the man with the black shorts, is a standing stone with red lichens on it. Some consider this to be a male idol. Above: A closer view. The"male stones" and "female" stones are what Uzi Avner calls "Matzevot". Most desert people did not make pictures or sculptures of faces or any other realistic picture. (As it was written in the Bible: "Do not make any sculpture or a mask"). This was the reason why in the desert, the old people took natural stones and used them as icons or idols. Male stone are - natural thin and long stones that symbolized a male god. "Fat low and wide" stones symbolize female goddesses

 

Left and above:  These pictures are from another nearby shorter wall (only 500 meters long). The archeologists who are studying this area think that this wall is a fence that fixes the border between two agricultural units. They believe that this is a little "shrine" with 3 female stones (Matzevot) and a little place for the sacrifices before it. They believe that these people built this "shrine" for giving the wall magic or divine forces. This wall is possibly dated to the EB (In the MB1 there was no agriculture.) It may be from the iron age, as dating the wall is very difficult.

Above:The "shrine" from close up. Note that there are 3 female stones Are these the 3 daughters of a god, possible Allah (Allat)?

Yigal Granot tells us: The idea that the walls protect areas by the force of the deities comes from my observations that in many places there are such "walls" between agricultural areas with these holy stones (which means - little shrines) and if you remember in the Bible again - Jacob and his father-in-law Lavan made an agreement and in order to strengthening the agreement they built a cairn on the top of the hill in order that their god will be the witness to the agreement. It means that this phenomena was very common in those days. In the case of the walls it is the same: in order to intensify the force of the wall to protect the area - they used the force of the shrines - in other words - the force of the deity.

Above:
"Male shrines" at Mt. Ramon. Here the K-line starts.
 The K-line on Mt. Ramon (2 km from the peak). Note that the man's shadow is directly on the wall - it was in the longest day of the year (21 st June, 2003) and the direction of this wall is directly to the spot where the sun goes down. The K-line finishes on Mt. Romem with a Tumoulus . The Tumoulus has male stones that were enlighted with the last lights of the sun.

Yigal Granot has provided us with a short bibliography for those wishing to do further study on male and female shrines, and lines and circles.

1) Avner U., & Avner R. (1999) - "Circles, Triangles and Lines in Archeological Remains and Rock Engraving, and Their Interpretation". D. Seglie (ed) - "News 95, Proceedings of the International Rock Art Congress", North East West South 1995, Turin (C.D. ROM), Pinerolo, Italy 1999/

2) Avner U. (1990) - Ancient Agricultural Settlement and Religion in the Uvda Vally in Southern Israel". Biblical Archeologist 53: 125 - 141.

3) Avner U. (1993) - "Masseboth Sites in the Negev and Their Significance." In J. Aviram (ed), Biblical Archeology Today, 1990, Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Biblical Archeology, pp. 166 - 181. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem.


4) Benjamin Adam Saidel (2002) - "Shiniyot (Stone Piles) in the Negev", ASOR 2002 Annual Meeting Abstracts.


5) Avner U. (2001) - "Sacred Stones in the Desert", Biblical Archeology Review, 27/3: 31 - 41.

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