Image of Fertility Goddess Unearthed at Lachish

A clay image of a Canaanite fertility goddess was unearthed in my square the other day. Yossi Garfinkel granted permission to post this photo of the find.

A late bronze fertility goddess discovered at Tel Lachish. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

A late bronze fertility goddess discovered at Tel Lachish. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Fertility goddesses were considered influential over the fertility of the womb, making them especially popular among those desiring children. Someone wanting a child likely worshiped this figurine at home or in a temple. The Bible says that Israelites shared in this practice with the Canaanites.

Many biblical passages mention religious images like the one above. Here are two of them.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath.” (Exodus 20:4, ESV)

“Beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.” (Deuteronomy 4:16)

Archaeology helps us to “get inside the head” of ancient peoples. We see what they saw. We come closer to their perspective, which makes them more relatable for us. Their examples, both good and bad, are more powerful when we understand their world and their surroundings.


About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in 2015 Tel Lachish excavation, Biblical Archaeology, Israel, Lachish, New Discoveries and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Image of Fertility Goddess Unearthed at Lachish

  1. George Athas says:

    Reblogged this on With Meagre Powers and commented:
    Excavations at the site of ancient Lachish have uncovered a clay image of a Canaanite fertility goddess from the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BC). The finder, Luke Chandler, has more in his blog post.

  2. Pingback: Une idole de fécondité exhumée à Lakish - Le Monde de la Bible

  3. Jim says:

    Reblogged this on Zwinglius Redivivus and commented:
    Oh those Lachish idolaters…

  4. Tim Bulkeley says:

    Interesting, to my only somewhat tutored eyes it looks reminiscent of the Judean Pillar Figures though in different format, how common are such pieces from the Bronze age?

    • lukechandler says:

      This is the second one of these found at Lachish this season. (The other was only a fragment but still recognizable.) Previous excavations at Lachish found similar figurines in the Late Bronze levels. They are typical in Canaanite sites and are often referred to as “Astarte figurines.” The goddesses are typically depicted naked, sometimes holding lotus flowers.

      Similarities with later cultic objects would not be surprising since this kind of cultic practice continued uninterrupted for centuries afterward.

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