Photo courtesy of The University Museum,University of Pennsylvania

ON THE COVER: Fit for an elf, this 11th-century B.C., house-shaped cult stand from Beth-Shean served in an ancient ritual. A snake slithers between the two windows in the first story, and a nude human figure holding a bird in each hand stands before the doorway in the second story. The round top of the 18-inch-high stand once held three ornamental birds, now broken off, which probably cradled a bowl containing offerings or incense. See “Cult Stands—A Bewildering Variety of Shapes and Sizes.”