Massive 5,000-year-old monument dedicated to Moon God in Galilee

Massive 5,000-year-old monument dedicated to Moon God found near Sea of Galilee

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Archaeologists have discovered an enormous 5,000-year-old stone monument shaped like a lunar crescent near the Sea of Galilee in what is now Israel, according to a report in Live Science .  Its crescent shape, and the fact that it is located next to an ancient town named Bet Yerah (‘House of the Moon God’) leads researchers to suggest that the structure was dedicated to the Moon God, Sin, although its actual function is unknown.

The monument was found about 13 kilometres northwest of the Sea of Galilee and approximately 29 kilometres from the town of Bet Yerah. It consists of an enormous crescent-shaped mound of stones measuring about 150 metres in length, 7 metres in height, and with a volume of about 14,000 cubic metres.  It has been estimated that such a structure would have taken about 200 workers more than 5 months to construct.

The research team have been able to approximately date the site to between 3050 BC and 2650 BC, based on pottery found in the structure. But aside from the pottery, no other artifacts or remains of buildings have been found in its vicinity, so it appears to be an entirely free standing monument.

Ido Wachtel, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told Live Science that the crescent shape stands out in the landscape and may have had symbolic importance as a monument dedicated to the ancient Mesopotamian Moon God named Sin, or otherwise Nanna.

Crescent-shaped monument in Galilee

About 8 miles (13 kilometres) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, a newly identified crescent-shaped monument was built about 5,000 years ago.

Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.  The Semitic moon god Sin was originally a separate deity from the Sumerian Nanna, but from the Akkadian Empire period the two merged into the one god.

Sin was commonly designated as En-zu, which means "lord of wisdom". During the period (c.2600-2400 BC) that Ur exercised a large measure of supremacy over the Euphrates valley, Sin was naturally regarded as the head of the pantheon – references can be found naming Sin the "father of the gods", "chief of the gods", and "creator of all things". The wisdom personified by the moon-god is an expression of the science of astronomy, in which the observation of the moon's phases is an important factor.

The moon god, Sin

The moon god, Sin. Image source .

Other evidence supporting its connection to the Moon God is the fact that the nearest town is the ancient settlement of Bet Yerah, whose name is also connected to the Moon God. However, it's uncertain whether the town actually bore this name 5,000 years ago.

Occupied throughout the Early Bronze Age and sporadically in later times, including the Persian period (c 450 BC) through to the early Islamic period (c 1000 AD), Bet Yerah was a large fortified city at the beginning of the third millennium BC. Its inhabitants traded with the early kings of Egypt, as seen from several artifacts, including a jug with a hieroglyphic inscription.  The town spans an area of over 50 acres—one of the largest in the Levant.

Ancient town of Bet Yerah

Ancient town of Bet Yerah. Image source .

Although archaeologists have speculated on various functions of the newly-discovered monument, for example, marking possession, asserting rights over natural resources, or identifying the border of Bet Yerah’s territory, the reality is that the true meaning and purpose of the monument remains unknown. 

Featured image: The crescent monument was constructed with about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) of stone. Credit: Ido Wachtel

By April Holloway

Comments

angieblackmon's picture

Dating aside, isn't anyone else interested in the name? I've always associated "sin" with what I've learned from the Christians. Sin=Bad. This seems to be a case of Sin being good.... or at least respected. 

love, light and blessings

AB

Great timing, especially with the recent uprising of the Islamic State. I'm sure this ancient find of the moon god Allah will on embolden their horrific methods of terrorism across the world.

rbflooringinstall's picture

Somehow I don't think we will figure out its true purpose for a long long time.

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

I know that they used that at a site in Mexico that was shut down when a woman, I forget her name, found tools and other artifacts. At first they thought 20,000 years so she kept quiet cause that was too much for people to handle. When she did come out with it she lost her career and everything was covered up but they used that type of dating and got 500,000 years. I just wanted to ask with that dating will it be able to tell when the rock was cut or when the earth made it? The carbon testing is completely unreliable because it doesn't give the date the place was built but the last remnants of its last occupants. There is a guy that was researching ancient sites with the facts plus comparing it with the bible and other sources and he made some really great discoveries. The channel it was on is AHC and the show was secrets of the bible. The episode was about the Tower of Babel and his research is explosive. I'll try and find the episode about that and the woman who lost her career, for her find in Mexico, that later scientists used that type of dating to prove the date went much further back that she originally thought.

There is one better method of dating stone structures, namely zirconium isotope dating. This is not used much, probably because the dates given from the analycis does not fit with the archaeologists views. Those people have no way of correctly assesing such methods, because they have no training in chemistry and physics.

This method is based on the circumstance that we have a constant downfall of zirconium from the athmosphere.This zirconium is breaking down into other isotopes with a much longer halflife as compared to C14 for instance. There are two points in this, one is a better precission on dating on more ancient structures and also dating is possible directly on the stone surface of a stone that have been quarried and then buried inside a structure.

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