UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Temple at Busayra Danielson, Andrew


The Temple of Busayra is located in the foremost city of the Kingdom of Edom — Busayra. The temple is located atop the acropolis on a prominent mountain spur within the highlands of southern Jordan. This area was excavated by Crystal-M. Bennett between 1971–1974 and again in 1980. There is some ambiguity in its identification as a temple, as very little material culture was found within the complex that would definitively identify its interpretation as such, a factor that was compounded by the nature of its excavation, poor preservation, and the length of time between its excavation and eventual publication. For this reason, while ultimately accepting a temple interpretation, the author of its final publication suggests that this interpretation must remain tentative (Bienkowski 2002: 94–95). Nonetheless, on the basis of its architectural form, this complex closely mirrors Temple Complex 650 at Tel Miqne and other comparable temple complexes of the late Iron Age. Likewise, its interpretation as a temple has been made more certain by the identification of the structures in adjacent Area C as a palace. This spatial layout at Busayra in the Kingdom of Edom then appears to follow a broader Iron Age Levantine pattern of large temple complexes adjacent palatial structures on the acropolis of capital cities, displaying the close association between political power and religious ideology. There is no explicit data that can identify the deity of focus in the temple with certainty, though it can be hypothesized with a fair degree of certainty that the deity was Qos (and a consort?) (Danielson 2020).

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