The following is from “Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah”, pages 497-499, by William Dever,
Religion played an important role in all early societies, and cultic practices (if not beliefs) are often reflected in material culture remains. In Israel and Judah of the ninth–eighth century [BCE] we have a number of both public and private cultic installations. …. From Iron [Age] IIB at Dan on the northern border there is a “high place” that features a raised platform 60 by 60 feet, with steps leading up to it and remains of a large four-horned altar in the forecourt. An adjoining tripartite structure (perhaps later) had a small stone altar and three iron shovels in one room. Also in the sacred precinct was a large olive-pressing installation, a house with domestic pottery and an oxhead figurine, a bronze scepter head, a painted offering stand, both male and female figurines of Phoenician style, and a faience die. A much smaller bāmâ with five standing stones (maṣṣēbôt) was found in the outer plaza of the city gate.
The only other full-fledged Iron [Age] II sanctuary we have is the tripartite temple at Arad in the northwest corner of the fortress. The temple was constructed in Stratum X of the ninth–eighth century [BCE] and was then altered in Stratum VIII in what may have been attempts at religious reforms that included abandoning the altar in the outer court and burying the two or three maṣṣēbôt of the inner sanctum. In the outer courtyard there was an altar of undressed stones, at the foot of which was found a bronze lion weight and two shallow bowls with the letters qoph and kaph, probably an abbreviation for qôdeš kôhănîm, “holy for the priests.” Two stylized horned altars flanked the entrance to the inner sanctum. … The Stratum X temple went out of use in the late eighth century. … Among the Arad ostraca was one (no. 15) that refers to the “temple [bêt] of Yahweh,” which probably refers to this temple [at Arad] rather than the one in Jerusalem. Other ostraca mention the names of known priestly families. The temple is out of use by Stratum VII, perhaps as a result of cult reforms.
In addition to these monumental remains, we have a number of household shrines of the ninth–eighth century. … They feature various combinations of small stone altars, cult stands, kernoi and other libation vessels, rattles, censers, both zoomorphic and female figurines, miniature furniture and vessels, pots for cooking and feasting, seals, and amulets.
All these vessels are appropriate for the family and household cults that we have taken to be characteristic of the varieties of “Yahwism” that characterized Israelite and Judahite religion in the Iron II period (and earlier). The precise theological concepts cannot always be inferred from the archaeological remains, even when extensive.
In practice, however, the focus is clearly seen, and it requires no sophisticated theory to comprehend it. It all has to do with survival—the ultimate concern of virtually all religions. This entails seeking the favor of the gods by prayers, invocations, and appropriate rituals, placating them by sacrifice, returning their gifts and rendering thanks, invoking their continued blessings by the use of sympathetic magic and feasting, and, of course, aligning oneself with them so as to participate in the “good life,” life in accord with nature as the creation of the gods and the arena of their activity.
It is now clear from the archaeological evidence that it was not the orthodox Yahwism of the late literary tradition, sometimes regarded imprecisely as “official” or “state” religion, that prevailed in the Iron II era. It was rather what Albertz has called “poly-Yahwism,” the “internal religious pluralism” that is so obvious in the typical family and household cults.
Now it is becoming clear that a cult of [the goddess] Asherah flourished, in both domestic and wider contexts, even to the extent of regarding her as Yahweh’s consort in some circles. Thus the veneration of Asherah can be understood not as “idolatry” but as one aspect of multifaceted Yahwistic practices.
An increasing number of both biblicists and archaeologists identify the Judean pillar-base figurines that begin in the late eighth century (after the 732–721 destructions in the north) as representations of the old Canaanite mother goddess Asherah. That is, these terra-cotta female figurines, of which we have hundreds of examples, are not simply votives or human figurines. They are evidence of a widespread, popular cult of Asherah, no doubt persistent until the end of the monarchy.