Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen

ISRAELITE OR PAGAN? Although many house shrines have been found elsewhere, the one excavated at Tel Rehov features a unique element: a lion with its paws extended onto the heads of two human figures. it is not clear how any of these house shrines functioned. They may have held fertility figurines or other sacred objects. it is also unclear who used this particular house shrine—Israelites or Canaanites. although Tel Rehov was located in the northern kingdom of Israel, the artistic traditions reflected in Rehov’s cultic objects suggest influence of pre-Israelite culture and possibly of a different place altogether (Late Bronze age Syria). What is clear is that these shrines were used in local, personal and more-obscure forms of ritual activity than the centralized, public religious-political centers in Dan and Jerusalem.