Cult stand
This is a cult stand from Yavneh. Raz Kletter, Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists from Germany believe that they have unearthed "the find of the century" in Yavneh, a village 20 kilometres south of Tel Aviv, Israel. A team from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) believe that their findings shed light on an ancient religious cult in what was then Palestine.

The small excavation, which could possibly be one of the smallest digs, with the pit measuring just 2 metres across and 1.5 metres deep, yielded some huge treasures. A total of 7,000 cult items were discovered, dating back to between the 8<sup>th and 9<sup>th century BC.

"What was found here can truly be described as one of the finds of the century," said Professor Wolfgang Zwickel. "Absolutely unique are the approximately 120 small cult stands that were intended to imitate temples."

Excavation on the pit began in 2002 and this is the second volume – titled Yavneh II: The 'Temple Hill' Repository Pit – to be published. "The newly published volume clearly demonstrates the extensive international links that the field of Biblical Archaeology in Mainz has already established, particularly with the Israel Antiquities Authority, with which we will soon be signing a cooperation agreement relating to further joint projects," concluded Wolfgang Zwickel.

The report says scientific analysis shows that the immense findings, which have been handed to various museums, contained traces of substances that the Yavneh population of old would have used to induce hallucinations.