Altar to Greek God Pan Used as Brick in Byzantine Church Wall in Israel

Atheneon of Antioch woz ’ere: Archaeologists make surprising new discovery at an early Christian church excavated at the Banias cultic site

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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An altar to a Greek deity amalgamating characteristics of Pan and Zeus has been discovered in the ruins of a Byzantine church at the Banias Nature Reserve in northern Israel. The altar had been debased: used as a lowly building stone in a church wall, with its inscribed face concealed.

Perhaps the builders used it as a matter of simple convenience, says Prof. Adi Erlich of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University, co-director of the church project with Ron Lavi. Or, its repurposing may have been a deliberate show of disrespect, marking the subjugation of the pagans to the Christians.