Photo: Courtesy of Claude Doumet-Serhal

HORNS OF CONSECRATION? Twenty stones shaped like horns, including two miniatures and two broken pieces, were uncovered in Sidon’s Late Bronze Age subterranean temple. Dated to the 13th century B.C.E., the horns vary in sizes—ranging from 6 to 12 inches in length. Some of the horns’ tips are sharp and others rounded. They resemble Minoan stone features called “horns of consecration,” a term coined by Sir Arthur Evans while working at Knossos, Crete. Numerous interpretations of these stones’ meaning, function and derivation have been posited, but no one knows their purpose for certain. One suggestion is that these horns originated in the ancient Near East where, in connection with Egyptian and Near Eastern cosmology and religion, they were related to the symbol of the primordial mountain and also of the sun disc’s motion along the horizon, thus implying an association with the Mesopotamian sun god Shamash.