Photo courtesy of Gary O. Rollefson

This temple dates to a time of great hardship at Ain Ghazal—the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period (6000–5500 B.C.). Those who continued to reside in the community constructed the temple across the Zarqa River from the town. The remains include a large room measuring about 11 by 21 feet. This eastern room housed the main ritual area, which consisted of two flat limestone slabs supported by three 2-foot-high stones. In front of the altar, excavators found a circular hearth bordered by seven flat stones—similar to the hearth in the earlier temple shown on page 61. A low wall (lower right in the photo, below the meter stick) may have shielded the priestly activities in the eastern room from the view of visitors in the western room (no longer extant). According to author Gary Rollefson, this shrine is the earliest known “holy of holies” in the ancient Near East.