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Temple at Tell Deir 'Alla, also known as “Tarala (historical)”, “Tell Deir 'Alla”, “Tall Dayr 'Alla”, “علا دير تل“ Halbertsma, Diederik


Tell Deir 'Alla, a settlement mound in the Jordan Valley, is the location of a substantial Late Bronze Age temple (ca. 1550-1185 BCE). The site finds itself along two important trade routes: one running north-south and one east-west. The partially excavated temple yielded numerous impressive finds indicative of Canaanite religious practices, as well as of far-reaching international connections with for example Egypt and Mesopotamia. Moreover, it yielded numerous inscribed clay tablets which appear to contain a Northwest Semitic script. Built in an Egyptianizing architectural style, it consisted of a central 'cella' (or holy of holies), as well as numerous adjacent rooms containing both religious paraphernalia and everyday vessels. While the exact deity (or deities) the temple was dedicated to, as well as what exact rituals were performed within it, remain unclear, it is clear the temple functioned as an important centre for the wider region. While its construction can be dated to around 1550 BCE based on pottery shapes, its sudden destruction must be placed sometime after 1189 BCE, due to a terminus post quem provided by a faience vessel bearing the cartouche of Pharaoh Tawosret (1191–1189 BC).

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Attribution 4.0 International