An unusual 3,800-year-old pottery jug, bearing a statuette of a person who appears deep in thought, has been discovered in Israel.
The ancient piece of crockery was found by a team of archaeologists and students during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb.
It bears a striking resemblance to The Thinker, Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture.
Journalists are shown a 3,800 year-old pottery jug with a rare statuette, discovered during excavation in central Israel, at the Israel Antiquities Authority offices in Jerusalem
The jug, which features a figure sat with knees bent and head rested on hand dates back to the the Middle Bronze Age, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
‘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 Gilad Itach, who directed the excavation.
The statuette is about 7 inches (18 cm) tall, much smaller than Rodin’s sculpture, which stands at around 73 inches 186 cm.
‘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.
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.
Conservationist Elisheva Kamaisky, shows journalists the jug with its rare statuette, at the Israel Antiquities Authority. Pictured right is one of many reproductions of Rodin’s The Thinker, to which the statue bears an uncanny resemblance
The unusual 3,800-year-old pottery vessel from the Middle Bronze Age was found during an excavation in Yehud, Israel and later restored by experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority
The ancient piece of crockery was found by a team of archaeologists and students during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb
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 make sure no relics are destroyed.
In recent months its teams have found treasures from gold coins to an ancient mosaic.
Last month, Israeli archaeologists unveiled a 7th century BC text they said contains the earliest mention in Hebrew of Jerusalem outside the Bible.
Other vessels and metal items were found alongside the statuette, such as daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and what are believed to be the bones of a donkey
The broken vessel was restored to its former glory by experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority
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. Pictured is conservationist Elisheva Kamaisky at the Israel Antiquities Authority
The reference, part of a wine-shipping order, was written in ancient Hebrew on a small piece of papyrus.
It reads: ‘From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.’
The papyrus, or scroll, like the Dead Sea Scrolls found nearby decades ago, was preserved thanks to the Judean Desert’s extremely dry climate.
TEN COMMANDMENTS TABLET SOLD AT AUCTION
Last week, the world’s earliest-known complete stone inscription of the Ten Commandments, described as a ‘national treasure’ of Israel, was sold at auction in Beverly Hills for $850,000 (£682,489).
Heritage Auctions said the 2ft (0.6m) square marble slab sold at a public auction of ancient Biblical archaeology artefacts.
The 4th century AD tablet weighs about 115lbs (52kg) and is inscribed in an early Hebrew script called Samaritan.
The world’s earliest-known complete stone inscription of the Ten Commandments (pictured), described as a ‘national treasure’ of Israel, was sold at auction in Beverly Hills for $850,000 (£682,489)
The tablet likely adorned the entrance of a synagogue that was destroyed by the Romans between A.D. 400 and 600, or by the Crusaders in the 11th century, said David Michaels, Heritage Auctions director of ancient coins and antiquities.
The auction house said the Israeli Antiquities Authorities approved export of the piece to the US in 2005.
The only condition was that it must be displayed in a public museum.