2,000-year-old marble sculpture depicts dolphin catching a fish
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists excavating this past February–March near Kibbutz Magen in Israel uncovered an ancient dolphin statue dating back about 2,000 years. The discovery of the statue, which depicts a dolphin diving downward with a fish in its mouth, was recently announced in a press release issued by the IAA in Hebrew.
Kibbutz Magen is located in the northwestern Negev desert, close to the border of the Gaza Strip. The IAA archaeologists discovered the marble statue within the ruins of a late Byzantine–early Umayyad period (fourth–seventh centuries C.E.) settlement. Alexander Fraiberg, who led the excavation, believes the marble statue dates to the Roman period—and thus pre-dates the building in which it was found.
The archaeologists think that the ancient dolphin statue—the remains of which measure just under a foot and a half—could have been part of a life-size sculpture depicting a god or goddess associated with dolphins.
“It is possible that the statue was of the [Greek] goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, who was born from seafoam,” said IAA archaeologist Rina Avner, according to the Times of Israel. “It is also possible that the statue was of Poseidon, god of the sea.”
Read more in the Times of Israel.
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