Farmer Working His Fields Makes an Ancient Find

Limestone head is thought to represent the Canaanite goddess Anat
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2022 12:35 PM CDT
Farmer Plowing His Land Finds Ancient Goddess
An employee of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities holds a 4,500-year-old stone sculpture that was found by a Palestinian farmer while working his land in the Gaza Strip, in Gaza City on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A farmer in the Gaza Strip went to work on Monday and found himself the subject of international news stories days later, all thanks to what he found in the ground. Nidal Abu Eid was plowing his land when he turned up a 4,500-year-old limestone head thought to represent the Canaanite goddess Anat. She's the goddess of love, beauty, and war, and is topped with a snake crown, which NBC News describes as "a symbol of strength and invisibility." She's also the precursor of Athena, the Greek goddess of war who's also typically surrounded by snakes.

Jamal Abu Rida, a rep for the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities says it was found in an area that served as a key "overland trade route for several civilizations" that lived in the modern-day Gaza Strip, reports Arab News. Abu Eid shared his take on the meaningful nature of the stone statuette, saying it "documents the history of the Palestinian people on this land and that its origins are Canaanite," per NBC.

He donated it to the Qasr al-Basha museum. The AP notes that's a more secure fate than many antiquities encounter in the Gaza Strip, where such finds often vanish and where development projects often trump the preservation of archaeological sites in the densely populated territory. It calls out a life-size statue of the Greek god Apollo that was found in 2013, disappeared, and remains missing. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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