JERUSALEM • A team of Israeli archaeologists and high school students has unearthed a 3,800- year-old pottery jug bearing a statuette of a person who appears deep in thought, sitting with knees bent and head rested on hand.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said yesterday that the jug, dating back to the Middle Bronze Age, had been found during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb.
"It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," said Mr Gilad Itach, who directed the excavation, which included teenage diggers.
The statuette is about 18cm tall.
"One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection," he said.
Other vessels and metal items were found such as daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and what are believed to be the bones of a donkey. Mr Itach said the collection seemed to be funeral offerings, likely of an important member of an ancient community.
"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," he said.
The statuette was the latest discovery by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is charged with carrying out excavations at all major building sites across the country to ensure no relics are destroyed. In recent months, its teams have found treasures from gold coins to an ancient mosaic.