4,500-year-old stone statuette found in Gaza

Gaza strip. (Photo: Jordan News)
GAZA, Palestinian Territories — A stone statuette over 4,500 years old depicting the face of an ancient goddess was discovered in the southern Gaza Strip, archaeological authorities in the Palestinian enclave announced Monday.اضافة اعلان

Carved out of limestone and 22cm long, the 2500 BC statuette was found by a farmer working his land in Khan Younis, according to the ministry of tourism and antiquities for Hamas.

"The statue represents the Canaanite goddess Anat," Jamal Abu Reda, in charge of antiquities at the ministry, said in a statement.

Anat, one of the best-known Canaanite deities, was the goddess of love and war.

It was uncovered on what was an important "overland trade route for several civilizations" that lived in what is now the Gaza Strip, according to Abu Reda.

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

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

Israel and Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, tightly restrict the flow of people in and out of the impoverished territory, which is home to about 2.3 million Palestinians. 

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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