Zev Radovan

Animal sacrifices were offered outdoors, on large open-air altars such as this one from Beersheba, the first Israelite horned altar to be discovered. These costly offerings were often reserved for special feasts, when they were joined with wine libations and grain offerings.

Although the altar’s stones had been reused to build a wall, they could be easily identified by the horns and because they had been cut from a distinctive calcareous sandstone. Significantly larger than the grain-offering altars, the Beersheba altar measures more than 5 feet tall to the top of its horns. After the altar had been reassembled as shown here, additional stones were found that indicated the width was originally about 9 feet.