The altar of the Golden Calf worshipped by the ancient Israelites still exists today

Anita Durairaj

The Golden Calf idol was a symbol of strength and virility.

The idol was first mentioned in the book of Exodus in the Bible. The book of Exodus states that when Moses went up to Mount Sinai, the Israelites became impatient and demanded that a "god" be brought forth before them. Thus, the Golden Calf was created for them.

The Golden Calf was also worshipped by Jeroboam, the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam made two golden calves. He set one of the calves in Bethel and the other golden calf in Dan.

Both the golden calves were destroyed when the kingdom fell in 722 BCE.

Today, there is no trace of the Golden Calf idol but tourists can still explore the ruins where the calf may have been located in Dan, Israel.

According to the Madain Project (a site for Abrahamic history and archaeology), the sacred area of the Golden Calf altar encompasses a large complex that is over a half-acre in size.

Archaeologists were able to find parts of the altar at the site including one of the horns. The top of the altar would have been accessed by two staircases.

The altar itself is reported to have undergone three phases of construction. Historians of the Madain Project claim that the altar in Dan had already been in use for 420 years before Jeroboam used it for his pagan worship.

However, not all historians agree that the Golden Calf altar in Dan, Israel belonged to the Israelites. They claim that it could also have been an Aramean (the people who inhabited Aram or modern Syria) sanctuary.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.

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