Zila Sagiv/Israel Antiquities Authority

Piece by piece, restorer Michal Ben-Gal rebuilds a clay anthropomorphic cult stand, which for more than 2,500 years had lain shattered in a pit near ‘En Hatzeva’s shrine. Behind, another stand rests on an incense burner, which was also found in the pit and pieced back together (see photograph of restored stand).

While the bodies of the cult stands were made on a wheel, limbs, noses, locks of hair and other features were modeled by hand. Inside the round rim on the figure’s head is a notch for attaching an offering bowl, which was used to burn incense or to present an offering to a deity.