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The discovery at Khirbat al-Mudayna on the Wadi ath-Thamad of a small temple within a walled town in central Jordan is a first for ancient Moab. This building, identified as a sanctuary on the basis of its plastered benches and limestone altars, is not a national temple with direct access entry. Rather, it is a local sanctuary, with indirect access from an alleyway that runs parallel to the south wall of the innermost room of the six-chambered gate. This paper includes a report on Sanctuary 149, excavated during the 1999 season. Of greatest interest are the three stone altars; two are painted, and one is also inscribed. These altars, each of a different type, suggest the range of cultic activities practiced in such a temple. Due to its position adjacent to the gate and to its construction history, the sanctuary probably dates to the early eighth century B.C.


This article was originally published in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 320: 1-21. © 2000 American Schools of Oriental Research. Reproduced with permission.