Khirbat Artaruz Back to the key sites map

Khirbat Artaruz
Chang-Ho Ji

Khirbat Ataruz, occupied during the Iron II Period, the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman Period, and the Middle Islamic Period, saw the beginnings of excavations on the acropolis of the site in 2000 by La Sierra University. Since then, the project has developed into a consortium research project involving La Sierra University, Brigham Young University, and Andrews University, expanding its excavations to the eastern, southern, and northern slopes of the site. Written references to the site appear in the Old Testament and the Mesha Inscription (lines 10-13), which describes the city as conquered by King Mesha of Moab, who slaughtered its residents for cultic reasons. Major Finds:

  • Iron IIA (Early Iron II): A large-scale temple complex with a tripartite sanctuary building, high places, inner and outer courtyards with multiple altars, a monumental staircase, a massive fortification system, and other auxiliary temple facilities such as a kitchen and cistern. The major objects from the temple include a large terracotta cult model, a bull statue, storage jars decorated with bulls, a bronze snake plaque, and various libation vessels and lamps.
  • Iron IIB (Mid Iron II): A small sanctuary with altars and offering tables, numerous domestic buildings, and water channels. An inscribed altar with the earliest Moabite scripts was found, along with portable stone altars, inside the sanctuary.
  • Late Hellenistic-Early Roman: Domestic buildings.
  • Middle Islamic: Domestic buildings including several houses with decorative arches.