Ancient Animal Figurines Found in Israel

Post 1181

Ancient Animal Figurines Found in Israel

by LiveScience Staff
Date: 29 August 2012 Time: 01:04 PM ET
This limestone figurine of a ram, found in Israel, is about 9,500 years old.
CREDIT: Yael Yolovitch, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists have uncovered two 9,500-year-old cultic figurines in excavations just outside of Jerusalem, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported today (Aug. 29).

Found at the Tel Moza site, one of the Neolithic figures is a limestone ram with precisely carved spiral horns. The other is a more abstract sculpture of a wild bovine fashioned from dolomite, according to the IAA. Both are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long.

Archaeologists believe these objects might have had cultic importance for the people who created them. The animal figurines were found near the remains of an ancient round building, dating back to a dynamic time in the region’s history when humans were transitioning from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one of farming and settling in villages.

“It is known that hunting was the major activity in this period,” Hamoudi Khalaily, co-excavator of the site for the IAA, said in a statement. “Presumably, the figurines served as good-luck statues for ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their prey.” However, archaeologist and excavator Anna Eirikh thinks the artifacts may have been associated with the process of animal domestication.

Excavations at Tel Moza are taking place ahead of the expansion of Highway 1, the main road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: