Revisiting Kuntillet Ajrud


After a forty-year hiatus, the final report on the excavations at Iron Age Kuntillet Ajrud was released just this past year. Not only does the 360+ page report provide information from the site previously known, but it presents many new long awaited data for the first time.  In response to this publication, and in only a matter of a few months, several experts have already offered major revisions and new interpretations of the Kuntillet Ajrud data. This is particularly the case with such issues as the site's date and function, its "ethno-political" affiliations, the interpretation of both new and previously known inscriptions along with the identity of their associated languages, as well as the all important art historical artifacts from the site.

To take but one example, interpretations of the now famous pithoi drawings and inscriptions that mention and that may depict the deities Yahweh and Asherah have likewise been reassessed. Long before the final report came out, these data contributed immensely to the ongoing, vigorous study of Iron Age Israelite religious beliefs regarding the divine-human encounter in four discrete but interrelated areas; the role of the feminine in early Israel’s concept of the divine, the symbiosis of Israel’s diverse henotheistic-monotheistic traditions, the visualization of the divine, and the crucial role of apotropaism.


Vienna 2014

In the initial iteration of the Revisiting Kuntillet Ajrud work shop, participation will be by invitation only. The first meeting of the workshop in Vienna (2014) is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to offer updates, clarifications, elaborations and rejoinders in light of the findings published in the 2012 volume. In at least two future reiterations of the work shop other internationally recognized experts will be invited to offer their assessments and exchanges on the same sets of issues as well as others that may emerge in response to the final report's publication.

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.