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The people of ancient times left many written records, often of religious significance. Even a stone column boasting of military conquests might first give thanks to the gods. There are temple ruins and religious statues or cult figures. If the people of one nation did not leave any records known to us, there may be references to the beliefs of that nation left in the records of a neighbour.

Sometimes, archaeologists build up a picture of a religious cult from several sources, so that if a pottery fragment contains little more than the name of a god, they can begin to infer that that god was probably worshipped.

For a long time, scholars thought that the Israelites had always been monotheistic, apart from some biblical episodes wherein the people inexplicably began to worship foreign gods. Scholars now know that they were not foreign gods at all, but that later authors altered the record to make it seem so, in order to support their monotheism. A puzzling example was the frequent biblical references to the groves and high places, as well as the frequent, usually antagonistic references to asherah. Scholars now know that the "high places" were sacred altars, that the groves were columns sacred to Asherah and that Asherah was a Semitic goddess, worshipped throughout Israel and Judah in pre-Exilic times. Numerous cult figurines of a voluptuous goddess, found throughout Israel, are believed to be of the fertility goddess Asherah. And two stellae have been found, attesting that Asherah was the consort of Yahweh - the God of Judaism.

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14y ago
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15y ago

They find artifacts, like for Egypt they found the Rosetta Stone, and tombs and pyramids. they used to write events down a lot.

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Q: How do historians know what really happened?
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