Archaeologists discovered ancient jugs in Shiloh related to the Tabernacle and dating back to the period when the Israelites had first entered the Land of Israel.
Ten ancient jugs unearthed at the site of the ancient city of Shiloh in Samaria could lead researchers to new discoveries about the Jewish tabernacle that existed there before the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.
The jugs, only some of which were broken, were unearthed approximately half a meter (20 inches) underground in a large room that is part of an ongoing archaeological excavation.
The Bible attributes the tabernacle at Shiloh to the time of the High Priest Eli and the Prophet Samuel.
In recent years, the Archaeological Unit of Israel’s Civil Administration has been excavating together with the Shiloh Association. The goal of the work is to locate the southern wall of ancient Shiloh.
The newly discovered jugs indicate that in ancient times, the area was vacated abruptly, with residents not having enough time to collect their belongings.
Among the jugs, the archaeologists also found a goblet known as a kobaat, a type of ritual chalice. The discovery of the kobaat ties in with the stone altar that was unearthed in the area a few years ago and could indicate that researchers are closing in on the precise location of the Shiloh tabernacle.
Hanina Hizami, coordination officer for archaeology at the Civil Administration, said, “This is a very exciting find. The destruction could have been caused by the Philistine invasion and the fire that raged [at Shiloh].”
Shiloh is mentioned in the Bible 34 times. It is located approximately 44 kilometers north of Jerusalem, in the hills of Ephraim in Samaria. It was the center of Jewish religious life from the time of the Book of Joshua until King David established Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the nation.
Until Joshua brought the Jewish people into the Land of Israel after the death of Moses, the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, traveled with the people. After crossing into the Holy Land, a permanent location for the Mishkan was established in Shiloh.
According to the Talmud, the Mishkan, which housed the Ark of the Covenant, remained in Shiloh for 369 years, until the Ark was taken into battle and captured by the Philistines.
At some point late in its residency in Shilo, the Mishkan was given a more permanent structure, and it is believed that the stone foundation for the Mishkan can be seen at Tel Shilo today. Experts believe this to be the location, based on the size and shape as well as the orientation of the foundation stones, and visitors can actually stand on the spot where it is believed that the Mishkan once stood.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff