9500-year-old figurine 370.
(photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority/Yael Yolovitch)
All ancient roads may lead to Rome, but Highway 1 leads from Tel Aviv to the New
Stone Age approximately 9,500 years ago – or so archeologists believe after
recently discovering animal figurines during the expansion of the
Archeologists discovered the figurines of a ram and a wild
bovine in Tel Moza, a rich archeological site in the Judean Hills outside of
Jerusalem. The ram, made from limestone, has intricately carved horns and is
about 15 centimeters long.
“The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely
depicts details of the animal’s image; the head and the horns protrude in front
of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate,” said
Hamoudi Khalaily, one of the co-directors of the dig from the
The second figurine is more abstract and depicts a
large animal with prominent horns that could be a wild bovine or
Khalaidy said the object most likely dates from the period when
early humans began the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering to
sedentary life based on farming and grazing with permanent settlements. “The
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period [the eighth millennium BCE] is considered one of
the most fascinating chapters in the history of mankind; many changes took place
in it that shaped human society for thousands of years to come,” he said in a
statement released by the Antiquities Authority.
Anna Eirikh, the other
codirector of the dig, believes that the figurines are linked to the process of
animal domestication, as the inhabitants began to build complex societies and
But Khalaily believes the figurines were used as
“Presumably, the figurines served as good luck statues for
ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional
ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their
prey,” he said.
Archeologists have discovered a wealth of objects at Tel
Moza, including stone age tools, objects associated with funerals and cult
rituals, and other artistic objects.