Enigmatic ancient crescent in Galilee pegged as massive moon shrine

Large stone structure, widely believed to be old wall, identified by Israeli researcher as 5,000-year-old lunar monument

A birds-eye view of the stone monument. (screen capture: Google Earth)
A birds-eye view of the stone monument. (screen capture: Google Earth)

A 5,000 year old monument that predates the Old Testament has been identified near the northern Israeli city of Safed.

According to a report published the science news website LiveScience, the crescent shaped monument is located some 8 miles (15 kilometers) from the Sea of Galilee and is believed to be designed to mimic the moon’s shape.

The stone monument was measured to be 14,000 cubic meters (494,405 cubic feet) in area and about 150 meters (164 yards) long, making it visible from satellite photos.

Bronze Age pottery excavated at the site, near the modern community of Shefer, dates the construction of the stone monument to between 3050 BCE and 2650 BCE, which would place it before Egypt’s pyramids.

The stone structure has been known by residents in the region by its Arabic name, “Rujum en-Nabi Shua’ayb.” Although the site’s existence was long known, many archaeologists had believed the amalgamation of stones was an ancient city wall.

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Ido Wachtel, a Hebrew University PhD candidate behind the finding, discovered that the structure stood alone as a type of lunar-inspired monument and did not act as any sort of fortification, LiveScience reported.

The monument is located 18 miles (29 kilometers) from Beit Yerah, an ancient pre-Talmudic town that translates to “House of the Moon.”

The town was known to have commercial trading operations with the ancient Egyptians and is a considered to be a one day journey from the monument by the era’s traveling standards.

Similar structures have also been found in the area; one of them, Rujum el-Hiri, is located east of the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights. Another rock structure, first detected in 2003, was found underneath the Sea of Galilee and is larger than England’s fabled Stonehenge structure.

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