Demons and Deities in Geshurite Bethsaida

Ann Haverkost, Rami Arav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The archaeological site of Bethsaida was the capital of the Geshurite kingdom during the Iron Age, until its destruction in the late 8th century BCE. An analysis of the architectural and small finds presents an eclectic collection of religious images similar to those of other cultures in the Iron Age Levant. In particular, the two stelae of the Moon God found in Stratum VI’s (11th–10th centuries) and Stratum V’s (9th–8th centuries) city gates offer clear evidence of the Geshurites’ Aramaean heritage that was heavily influenced by older Hurrian and Hittite traditions. At the same time, figurines from the site show influences from the Israelites, Ammonites, Phoenicians, and Egyptians. Not all these figures should be identified as major deities of the official cult. It seems the Geshurites also respected demons in their domestic religion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-38
Number of pages26
JournalBulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© (2022). All Rights Reserved.


  • Bethsaida
  • Geshurites
  • Iron Age
  • Moon God
  • deities
  • demons
  • figurines
  • religion
  • stelae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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