8. Idumean in Light of the Votive Deposits of Terracotta Figurines
About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period - Recent Research and Approaches from Archaeology, Hebrew Bible Studies and Ancient Near East Studies - Benedikt Hensel
Adi Erlich [+]
University of Haifa
Adi Erlich’s “Idumean in Light of the Votive Deposits of Terracotta Figurines” turns to this peculiar type of artifact from the Persian period. The region as whole is characterized by a number of types of terracotta figurines, which are all local variants and adaptations of Achaemenid, Phoenician, and Greek types, and among three clearly identifiable Idumean types. The types depict a horse rider, a woman with a child on her shoulder and a standing man, sometimes holding a bow and arrows. The figurines come from several votive deposits or favissae throughout the Shephelah, from Tel Miqne in the north to Tel Halif in the south. These deposits display mixed assemblages with different sources of influence, and all contain terracottas of Idumean types. This essay examines the similarities and differences between the assemblages, within the context of both the settlement hierarchy and formation of ethnic identity. The Idumean terracottas throw light on the Idumean society, values and daily life. The cult in Idumea is examined in light of the votive deposits, compared to Persian-period Phoenicia, and in regard to old traditions in the Shephelah.