Spectacular 3,800-year old artifact found in Yehud

Israeli high school students help discover one-of-a-kind ancient artifact in central Israel.

David Rosenberg,

3,800-year old pottery piece
3,800-year old pottery piece
Clara Amit

An archaeological team working in the central Israeli city of Yehud recently made a tremendous discovery with the help of some Israeli high school students.

The team, led by Israel Antiquities Authority excavation director Gilad Itach, found evidence at the site of human habitation going back some 6,000 years. Concealed in pits and shafts scattered across the site were thousands of pottery pieces, hundreds of stone tools, animal bones, and a butter churn.

Most impressive, however, was a 3,800-year old sculpture ornamenting a ceramic jug. Itach said the find was unprecedented. Along with the jug and sculpture piece, an axe and arrowheads were also found.

Dig site in Yehud Courtesy of IAA

“It literally happened on the last day of the excavation when right in front of our eyes and those of the excited students an unusual ceramic vessel,” he said.

While the jug, said Itach, “is typical of the period” the sculpture, in the shape of a man, was “unique… the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research.”

“The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000 year old sculpture is extremely impressive. 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. One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection”. Itach added, “It is unclear if the figure was made by the potter who prepared the jug or by another craftsman”.

High school students participating in dig Courtesy of IAA

The dig included students from a religious girls high school, Roeh, in Ramat Gan. As part of a program by the Israel Antiquities Authority, students are able to participate in field work and get hands-on experience with archaeology.

One student present at the Yehud dig recalled the moment when the statue was found.

“Suddenly I saw many archaeologists and important people arriving who were examining and admiring something that was uncovered in the ground” said Ronnie Krisher.

“They immediately called all of us to look at the amazing statuette and explained to us that this is an extremely rare discovery and one that is not encountered every day. It is exciting to be part of an excavation whose artifacts will be displayed in the museum”.

The sculpture Courtesy of IAA

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