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Chapter 1. Introduction: Unanswered Questions and the Power of a Feast

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes a selection of the published and unpublished archaeological remains, in order to create a portrait of the religious practice at Dan in the Iron II period, specifically in regard to the sacred feasts that are suggested to have taken place there. It brings new data into the discussion: the analysis of a complex of intentional deposits of ceramic and animal bone remains within the precinct argued to provide evidence of such feasts. Three central questions guide this exploration: Is there evidence of a monarchic period cult at Dan? If so, what was the nature of this cult and, particularly, its sacred feasts? And, finally, what role might these apparent feasts have played in the socio-political and religious developments of the Northern Kingdom?

Keywords: Iron II period; Northern Kingdom; sacred feasts; Tel Dan



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