2/11/2015 6:29:19 PM
|written By : Staff Reporter|
Were the ancient Israelis Shaivites? Did they venerate symbols sacred to many Hindus such as the Linga and the Yoni?
Recent archaeological findings in the Negev Desert in Israel where mysterious 8,000 year old phallic carvings, phallic structures and vulva-like (Yoni) structures raise these questions.
Mysterious 8,000 year old stone circles filled with phallic carvings discovered in mountains sites in the Eilat mountains contain phallic stone structures. Researchers believe hundreds more sites may exist in the region.
Around 100 prehistoric 'cult sites,' (as described by Israeli researchers) containing phallic carvings have been found in the Eilat Mountains in the Negev Desert in Israel.
The sites date back around 8,000 years, and archaeologists were stunned to find a variety of stone structures and artifacts. They include stone circles that measure 1.5 to 2.5 meters across with penis-shaped installations pointing toward them.
While a comprehensive stylistic study of the stone objects is still ongoing, a preliminary interpretation suggests two symbolic aspects,' the team, led by Uzi Avner, a researcher with the Arava-Dead Sea Science Center and the Arava Institute, wrote.
'One is fertility, represented by the stones with elongated perforation (vulva-shape) and by the very combination of the elongated cell and the circle.' This looks like the Yoni symbol in Shaivite temples.
According to experts, the fact that they are still visible today, thousands of years after being used, indicates that they were frequently visited, for short events, during a significant period of time and by many people. Could this mean that Phallic or Linga worship was common in that area?
Since many sites contain several installations (up to eleven) and numerous stone objects, support the view that at least some sites were not just temporary. The researcher team say the sites were used by cults to worship fertility and death. It is believed animal sacrifices took place, and that hundreds of the sites exist.
These sites are often clustered together, and in one area the team discovered 44 cult sites in a spot encompassing only 0.8 square kilometers (less than 200 acres).
'Taking in[to] consideration the topography, environmental conditions and the small number of known Neolithic habitations in the general southern Negev, the density of cult sites in this region is phenomenal,' the team, led by wrote in an article published recently in the Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society.
Archaeologists are working to decipher any meaning from the artifacts and structures, and say that both death and fertility seem to be symbolized at the sites.
The linga or lingam (Sanskrit for "symbol") is the symbol of the god Shiva and the form in which he is most commonly worshipped. The phallic symbol is the main object of worship in Shaivite temples and homes throughout India and the world.
Scholars believe that the linga was revered by some non-Aryan peoples of India since antiquity, and short, cylindrical pillars with rounded tops have been found in Harappan remains. The Vedic Aryans appeared to have disapproved of linga worship, but literary and artistic evidence shows that it was firmly established by the 1st–2nd century AD.