Palestinian authorities in Gaza have announced the discovery of 4,500 year old statuette.
The limestone artefact was found by a farmer and handed over to the authorities.
It measures 22 cm and depicts the face of an ancient goddess.
“Today, we announce an archaeological discovery at the site of Sheikh Hamouda in Khan Yunis, which is a symbol for the oldest human civilisation that lived in Gaza City, where a Palestinian farmer from the east of Khan Yunis found the head of a statue while working his land, and handed it over to the authorities”, announced Jamal Abu Rida, director of the general administration of Antiquities at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza.
According to the ministry official, the statuette represents Canaanite goddess Anat, the goddess of love and war.
Tourism and access to archaeological sites is limited in Gaza due to an Israeli blockade imposed since the militant group Hamas took over the enclave in 2007.
“The specialised technical staff at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities examined the statue, which is on display in front of you, and it turned out to belong to the Canaanite goddess Anat, which was the Goddess of love, beauty and war, according to the Canaanite mythology, and the statue is approximately 4,500 years old”, informed Jamal Abu Rida.
Nariman Khaleh, employee at the ministry of tourism added “the statue is in the possession of Tourism and Antiquities, and it will be displayed in the National Museum, Pasha Palace Museum in the coming days”.
In February, workers at a construction site in northern Gaza discovered 31 Roman-era tombs dating to the first century AD.
Last January, Hamas reopened the remains of a fifth-century Byzantine church following a years-long restoration effort backed by foreign donors.