Bible and archaeology news
The figurine sits atop a clay jug in reflection, with one hand supporting its head and the other resting on its knees—just like Rodin’s The Thinker, observed several media reports. This extraordinary 3,800-year-old vessel was unearthed during excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in the central Israeli town of Yehud.
The 7-inch-high jug, which dates to the Middle Bronze Age, was discovered with the participation of a group of high school students as part of an IAA Land of Israel and Archaeology program.
“The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost-4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive,” remarked IAA excavation director Gilad Itach. “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 jug was discovered along with other objects, including daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, and animal bones—sheep and what may be donkey bones. The IAA archaeologists believe these artifacts were buried with a member of the Middle Bronze Age settlement at Yehud.
“It seems that these objects are funerary offerings that were buried in honor of an important member of the ancient community,” said Itach. “It was customary in antiquity to believe that the objects that were interred alongside the individual continued with him into the next world. To the best of my knowledge, such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country.”
The archaeologists also discovered artifacts dating to the Chalcolithic period, c. 4000 B.C.E.: pits and shafts that held thousands of pottery fragments, flint and basalt tools, animal bones and a butter churn.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the world of Bible history with a BAS All-Access membership. Biblical Archaeology Review in print. AND online access to the treasure trove of articles, books, and videos of the BAS Library. AND free Scholar Series lectures online. AND member discounts for BAS travel and live online events.Subscribe Today