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3,500-year-old pagan vessels found in Israel

A cache of 3,500-year-old pagan religious vessels have been unearthed in northern Israel.

The items were found during an excavation ordered by the Israel Antiquities Authority along the route of a new gas line in the country’s north. Excavating a rock hollow, archeologists found more than 100 intact artifacts, including a vessel for burning incense and the sculpted face of a woman that was part of a cup used in a pagan religious ceremony.

“This is my 42nd excavation in 15 years and the first time I’ve found more than shards,” said Edwin van den Brink, the archaeologist who directed the excavation. He said he expected to find artifacts, but not the amount or quality they uncovered.

Some of the small vessels were used to carry precious liquids from Cyprus and Mycenae, Greece, 3,500 years ago. These vessels were replicated by people in those areas, illustrating a link between the regions, van den Brink said.

Van den Brink said they might have been used in a nearby temple. They were deposited in the hole either to be preserved from a fire that swept through the region at the end of the Late Bronze Age, or they were buried because they were no longer in use.

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