While conducting an archaeological survey in the eastern Negev, Itzhaq Beit-Arieh made an extraordinary find on a flat-topped hill overlooking the Malhata Valley, a site that he would later name Horvat Qimit. Mized with the numerous, common, pottery sherds strewn over the landscape, among which were some Edomite pottery sherds, he found fragments of clay figurines and reliefs, artifacts that he had never before seen on the surface of sites in this archaeologically rich area.

Excavation of the site revealed even more of the cultic objects. Those shown here in situ include an ostrich, a hand and a dagger, at center, from left to right respectively.

Heads from human figurines and fragments from larger statues were also among the finds. The heads exhibit similar features that were mostly hand-modeled and attached to the heads separately, although some heads were produced from molds. Some of the figures consist of a head and torso only, with the lower limbs replaced by a triangular wedge, as in the example at upper center. The wedge was probably used to insert such figures into a slot on a cult stand or on some other object.

The discovery of relatively great amounts of Edomite pottery, the Edomite script, and these objects—some of which are similar to figurines that have been found in the land of Edom—led the excavator to propose that Horvat Qimit was an Edomite cult-center. The first Edomite cult-center ever excavated, it is dated to about the time of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.