Palestinian farmer finds 4,500-year-old goddess statue while working his land
The head, which was unveiled to the public Tuesday, was found in Sheikh Hamouda in Khan Younis, Jamal Abu Rida, director of Gaza’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said at a press conference.
“At first, I hoped to sell it to someone to make some money,” Nidal Abu Eid, the farmer, told The New Arab, “but an archaeologist told me that it was of great archaeological value.”
Staff at the ministry concluded that the head belonged to a statue of Anat, the goddess of love, beauty and war in Canaanite mythology, Rida said.
The Canaanites were an ancient pagan people whom the Bible says inhabited Jerusalem and other parts of the Middle East before the advent of monotheism.
A farmer found the statue while working his land. Credit: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Rida called the statue “a symbol for the oldest human civilization that lived in Gaza City.”
The statue will go on display at the Pasha’s Palace Museum in Gaza in the next few days, said ministry official Nariman Khaleh.
The museum, one of few in Gaza, served as a girls’ school before being transformed into a museum thanks to a German grant.
The first story of the palace dates to the Mamluks, a Muslim dynasty that ruled Egypt and much of the Levant from Cairo from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
The second story is a largely Ottoman construction, according to the United Nations Development Program.
Gaza receives virtually no external tourists, as movement in and out of the territory is heavily restricted.
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CNN’s Mohammed Abdelbary contributed to this report.
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