IAA/Israel Museum/David Harris

A small bronze bull, only 4 inches high and 7 inches long, is one of the few cultic items that can be associated with Iron Age I Israelite worship. Discovered at a small isolated hilltop shrine in Samaria, it suggests connections with the Canaanite cult of El, the bull god. The name El survived in Israelite religion as referring to the Israelite deity. Other than this, however, we have little archaeological evidence of Israelite religion before the Israelite monarchy in the tenth and ninth century B.C.E. Author Dever believes that Israelite religion was most likely simple, noninstitutionalized and probably in the tradition of older Canaanite fertility cults.