According to Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, God designated a single, centralised place of worship for his chosen people.
The Temple at Arad, however, was built in the northwest corner of the Tel-Arad fortress and operated for some 300 years despite this commandment.
Professor Meyer said: “A one-of-a-kind Jewish Temple dedicated to YHWH has been found, not in Jerusalem, but in Arad, an important fortress city located on the Spice Route in the Biblical Negev, south of Hebron.
“The Israelite Temple unearthed at Arad by Israelite archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni (1962 to 1967) is the first and only Israelite sanctuary discovered in an archaeological excavation.”
Much like Jerusalem’s Temple, the Temple at Arad held a Holy of Holies – a sacred inner sanctum – and was built facing eastward.