Monday 26 February 2024

Palestinian farmer finds 4,500-year-old goddess sculpture in Gaza Strip

Carved out of limestone and 22-centimetres long, the 2500 BC statuette was found by a farmer working his land in Khan Younis.

A Palestinian farmer has found a rare 4,500-year-old stone sculpture while working his land in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.


Hamas authorities announced on Monday that the 22-centimetre tall limestone head is believed to represent the Canaanite goddess Anat and is estimated to be dated to around 2,500 B.C.


“Anat was the goodness of love, beauty, and war in the Canaanite mythology,” said Jamal Abu Rida, director of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in a statement.


Gaza, a narrow enclave on the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a trove of antiquities and archaeological sites as it was a major land route connecting ancient civilisations in Egypt, the Levant and Mesopotamia.


But discovered antiquities frequently disappear and development projects are given priority over the preservation of archaeological sites beneath the urban sprawl needed to accommodate 2.3 million people packed into the densely populated territory.


The find was the latest in Gaza, where tourism at archaeological sites is limited due to an Israeli blockade imposed since Hamas took over the enclave in 2007.


In February, workers at a construction site in northern Gaza discovered 31 Roman-era tombs dating to the first century AD.


In January, Hamas reopened the remains of a fifth-century Byzantine church following a years-long restoration effort backed by foreign donors.

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