A small remarkable jug from the Middle Bronze Age was recently discovered in Israeli city of Yehud, according to a press release from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Gilad Itach, an excavation director with the IAA, said the discovery was made by students working for the authority.
“It literally happened on the last day of the excavation when right in front of our eyes and those of the excited students an unusual ceramic vessel (about 7 inches) high was exposed that bears the image of a person,” Itach said. “It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research. The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive.
“The neck of the jug served as a base for forming the upper portion of the figure, after which the arms, legs and a face were added to the sculpture,” the Israeli archeologist added. “One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection. It is unclear if the figure was made by the potter who prepared the jug or by another craftsman.”
A Very Rich Find
In addition to the distinctive pottery vessel, researchers also found other vessels and metal goods like daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and what are thought to be the bones of a donkey. The IAA researchers said these items appear to be funerary offerings that were interred in tribute to a prominent member of the ancient community. It was traditional in antiquity to believe items interred next to individual came with them into the next world.
The researchers also found various bits of evidence revealing the kind of life that existed 6,000 years ago in the region. Among other things, pits and shafts in the ground contained thousands of pottery fragments, hundreds of stone tools, animal bones, and a churn for making butter.
Perhaps most importantly, the discovery was an opportunity for high school students working on site, who are matriculating with the IAA.
“Suddenly I saw many archaeologists and important people arriving who were examining and admiring something that was uncovered in the ground” said Ronnie Krisher, one of the students. “They immediately called all of us to look at the amazing statuette and explained to us that this is an extremely rare discovery and one that is not encountered every day. It is exciting to be part of an excavation whose artifacts will be displayed in the museum.”
Image credit: Eyeconn, IAA
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