A Israeli boy stumbled across a 3,400-year-old figurine on a hiking trip in Israel. After being explained the historic significance of the statuette, the boy happily donated it to the local authorities. The miniature figurine appears to be of a curvaceous naked lady, which historians think resembles the fertility goddess Astarte.
A 3,400-year-old clay figurine was discovered by a boy on a trip with friends. The 7-year-old boy, who came across the ancient artifact, accidentally discovered the statuette of a naked woman during a day trip to an archaeological site in Israel, reported NBC News. The boy, identified as Ori Greenhut, spotted a mud-covered figurine jutting out of the earth when he was out climbing a mound with friends at Tel Rehov archaeological site. Not realizing the importance or age of the artifact, he carefully brought it home and showed it to his mother, who contacted relevant archaeological authorities.
“Ori returned home with the impressive figurine and the excitement was great. We explained to him this is an ancient object and that archaeological finds belong to the state. The Antiquities Authority would take care of it for everybody’s benefit. “
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of the 3,400-year-old figurine through a press release, which noted that the discovery was made by the 7-year-old. The ancient figurine was found after the boy moved a rock while ambling around the Canaanite archaeological site of Tel Rehov, reported Fox News.
After he brought it home carefully and cleaned the mud off the clay figurine, which is roughly five-inches tall, the boy realized that what he was holding wasn’t some toy, but a well-preserved ancient artifact. The figurine appears to be of a woman featuring a narrow waist and apparently an ornate hairdo. Local archaeologists describe the figure as plump. There’s a lengthy debate underway as experts aren’t sure who the figurine represents. While some insist the 3,400-year-old figurine is an idol of a fertility goddess, such as Astarte, others say it depicts a living woman of the time in Israel, reported CNN.
Those who believe the figurine is of an ordinary woman, point out that the clay statute doesn’t have any special markings that are common depictions of goddesses, shared Yardenna Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The figurine has none of the hallmarks sometimes found with depictions of goddesses. She has no crown, for instance. She looks completely natural, which is why she could be one, a goddess or a picture of a real woman.”
He noted that the region is teeming with great many figurines carved in a variety of materials like clay, stone, and bronze. While many of the figurines clearly depict goddesses, quite a few are made to depict the women that lived at the time. This particular figurine has been made of clay and must have been produced by pressing the material in a mold, shared the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Amihai Mazar, director of the excavations at Tel Rehov and professor emeritus at Hebrew University, examined the artifact, reported Archaeology. However, he merely added fuel to the debate, instead of settling it.
“It is typical of the Canaanite culture of the fifteenth to thirteenth centuries B.C. Some researchers think the figure depicted here is that of a real flesh and blood woman, and others view her as the fertility goddess Astarte, known from Canaanite sources and from the Bible. Evidently the figurine belonged to one of the residents of the city of Rehov, which was then ruled by the central government of the Egyptian pharaohs.”
Interestingly, the plumpness that the figurine depicts, could be an indicator of the age of the statue, shared Alexandre,
“Figurines depicting beefier women were typical of even earlier eras. For this period, the late Bronze period of 13 to 15 centuries BCE, her slimness is typical in figurines.”
The 7-year-old has been officially recognized for finding the 3,400-year-old figurine through a certificate of appreciation for his good citizenship in turning over the piece rather than keeping it, reported News Oxy.
[Photo by Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority]