The Land of Israel constantly reveals hidden treasures, testifying to its rich history. This time, a boy on a hike discovered an ancient and rare clay figurine from the Canaanite era.
A seven-year-old boy on a field trip chanced upon a rare and unique archaeological find – a small figurine believed to be used for ritual purposes during the Canaanite era some 3,400 years ago.
Ori Greenhut, from the Beit Sheʽan Valley, went out on a trip earlier this week with friends, accompanied by the father of one of the children. While they were climbing up the archaeological mound at Tel Rehov, Ori came across a stone that had shifted and suddenly saw an image of a person covered with soil. Ori rubbed away the mud off the object and discovered the exceptional clay figurine.
Moriya Greenhut, Ori’s mother, recounted how Ori “returned home with the impressive figurine and the excitement was great. We explained to him this is an ancient artifact and that archaeological finds belong to the State”.
The Greenhut family notified the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) of their find, and representatives of the IAA came to Ori’s choll and presented him with a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship and tell him what they know about the figurine.
Esther Ledell, Ori’s teacher, said the event was amazing. “The archaeologists entered the class during a Torah lesson, just when we were learning about Rachel stealing her father’s household idols. I explained that the household idols were statues that were used in idol worship, and all of a sudden I realize that these very same idols are here in the classroom!”
The clay figurine portrays a naked standing woman which was prepared by pressing soft clay into a mold.
Amichai Mazar, professor emeritus at Hebrew University and expedition director of the archaeological excavations at Tel Rehov, was entrusted with examining the figurine.
“It is typical of the Canaanite culture of the 15th–13th centuries BCE,” he ruled. “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. It is highly likely that the term trafim [idols] mentioned in the Bible indeed refers to figurines of this kind”.
Mazar added that is was evident that 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”.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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