Washington, April 7 (ANI): Archaeologists have found five structures, each in the shape of an enormous "foot", in the Jordan Valley in the Middle East, which testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot.
According to archaeologist Professor Adam Zertal of the University of Haifa, who headed the excavating team that exposed five compounds in the shape of an enormous "foot", that it were likely to have been used at that time to mark ownership of territory.
The discovery dates back to the time of the People of Israel's settlement in the country.
For the first time, enclosed sites identified with the biblical sites termed in Hebrew "gilgal", which were used for assemblies, preparation for battle, and rituals, have been revealed in the Jordan valley.
The researchers exposed five such structures, which they suppose functioned during that period to mark ownership on the territory.
Professor Zertal emphasized that the "foot" held much significance as a symbol of ownership of territory, control over an enemy, connection between people and land, and presence of the Deity.
The Bible also has a wealth of references to the importance of the "foot" as a symbol: of ownership over Canaan, the bond between the People of Israel and their land, the link between the People and God's promise to inherit the land, defeating the enemy 'underfoot', and the Temple imaged as a foot.
"The discovery of these 'foot' structures opens an entirely new system of linguistic and historical perceptions," Professor Zertal emphasized.
According to Zertal, the meaning of the biblical Hebrew word for "foot" - "regel" - is "festival", "holiday", and ascending to see the face of God.
As such, the source of the Hebrew term "aliya la-regel", literally translated as "ascending to the foot" (and now known in English as a pilgrimage), is attributed to the "foot" sites in the Jordan valley.
"Now, following these discoveries, the meanings of the terms become clear. Identifying the 'foot' enclosures as ancient Israeli ceremonial sites leads us to a series of new possibilities to explain the beginnings of Israel, of the People of Israel's festivals and holidays," said Zertal.
"The biblical text testifies to the antiquity of these compounds in Israel's ceremonials, and the 'foot' structures were built by an organized community that had a central leadership," he added.
He stressed that there is a direct connection between the biblical ideology, which identifies ownership over the new land with the foot and hence with the shape of the constructions. (ANI)