Courtesy Ephraim Stern

Graves for figurines thrilled excavators when they were discovered at Tel Dor. Known as favissae (singular, favissa), such pits provided a special burial place for discarded votive figurines, whose sacredness demanded this unusual treatment. After a figurine had served its purpose, it was removed from the sanctuary and deliberately broken—probably in some ceremony—and then laid to rest in a favissa.

Uncovered in 1980 between two city walls near the city gate, the first favissa found at Tel Dor contained the figurines seen on the right side of the pit. These date to the fifth to fourth centuries B.C.