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A woman walking on Palmahim beach found an ancient figurine more than 3,000 years old, identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor

She handed it over to the State Treasury and received a certificate of appreciation from the Antiquities Authority for demonstrating good citizenship

Hathor figurine found on the beach. Photo by Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
Hathor figurine found on the beach. Photo by Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority

A more than 3,000-year-old statuette, identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor, was discovered by a citizen in the Palmachim Coast National Park, and was handed over to the state treasures.

Lydia Marner, 74 years old from Lod, immigrated to Israel from Azerbaijan with her husband and two daughters. Since her retirement from her job as a mediator in the Ministry of Social Affairs, she and her husband go on weekly trips to the Palmachim beach. "The beach is one of our favorite places in Israel," she says. "Almost every week we go on family trips, sometimes we even go to the sea, and this is a place of very high family value for us." she adds.

About a month ago, during one of the weekly trips, while walking along the beach, she noticed that something was sticking out of the sea. “It was quite a windy day; The waves were high, and the weather was wintry. During the walk by the water, I noticed a stone coming towards me. I immediately called my husband and told him - it's not for nothing, I saw that there was something more here."

Lydia took a picture of the find, and tried to check with her acquaintances who understand what it is, they immediately told her that it looks like something that needs to be checked by professionals. She turned to the Antiquities Authority's Facebook page, and Dror Citron and Idan Horn, inspectors on behalf of the Authority, came to examine the special statuette.

After an examination, it turned out that the find was none other than a figurine (statuette), identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor.

Ever since, Lydia has loved to research and learn about the history and archeology in her surroundings, and the find moved her very much. "I can't believe I won this. At first my husband laughed at me, but today the whole family already knows the amazing story that happened to me. I am very happy that the right to find it fell to me."

According to Dr. Amir Golani, an expert on the Bronze Age at the Antiquities Authority, "These figurines, which were used for worship and are usually identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor, are typical of the Canaanite culture in the Land of Israel - mainly in the Late Bronze Age and also in the Iron Age. The Canaanites used to adopt ritual and religious customs of the Egyptians, who ruled our region at the time. Just like homes today, where you install a mezuzah or hang a picture of a saint on the wall, back then - they used to place ritual figurines in a central place in the house, for good luck and protection from bad things. Although the statuette is very worn, its size is well known to us. It is made of clay that was embedded into a stone pattern, which allows for the multiple production of this type of figurines. It can be recognized that this is Ella Hathor by her hairstyle, which simulates the horns of a bull, and by the prominent eyes and ears that were designed for her. Hathor was a powerful goddess, who symbolized many virtues for the Egyptians - fertility, strength, protection, and wisdom."

Last week, for the first time, the Antiquities Authority and the Ministry of Heritage launched the "Ancient Finds - Returning them in a Click" operation, which calls on people who have antiquities in their homes to return them to their natural place - the treasures of the state.

Amichai Eliyahu, Minister of Heritage: "The antiquities return operation led by the Ministry of Heritage and the Antiquities Authority is important and significant. The antiquities that will be returned will help in assembling the historical story of the Land of Israel. I call on the general public who keep any antiquities in their homes to return them to the Antiquities Authority, which holds them under proper preservation conditions. Some of the antiquities will be presented to the public in various exhibitions in museums.'

"Many people keep in their private home antiques that came into their possession under different circumstances. Some are collected in the field, some are inherited, and more," he explains Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority. "A large part of them are not aware that according to the law they have to report the antiquities, which are a public historical treasure. The campaign asks for the citizens' partnership in returning the antiquities to their natural and legal place of our heritage assets. With us, in the state treasures, the sensitive items will be documented and preserved against the ravages of time. Some of them will go to the displays, and maybe even add information about the country's past. We already see that significant items are coming to us, and are curious to find out what else will arrive at our door."

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