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Archaeologists hail discovery of Bronze Age 'thinker' figurine in Israel

A Bronze Age sculpture has been uncovered at an excavation site near Tel Aviv, in an area intended for the construction of houses. Archaeologists have hailed the piece, which depicts a figure "in a state of reflection."

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered a 3,800-year-old figurine depicting a person seemingly deep in thought, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) revealed Wednesday.

The 18-centimeter high artwork, an earthenware vessel incorporating the crouching figure's body into its design, was found in October on land intended for housebuilding in Yahud near the city of Tel Aviv.

"The level of precision and attention to detail in this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is truly impressive," said Gilad Itach, excavation director for the IAA. The figure is wearing a hat and resting its chin on one hand. Its pose is reminiscent of French sculptor Auguste Rodin's early 20th-century masterpiece known as "The Thinker."

Israel Archäologen finden 3800 Jahre alte Tonkunst (picture alliance/Israel Antiquities Authority)

The ancient vessel was found in several pieces and had to be reconstructed by the Israel Antiquities Authority

"One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection," said Itach.

The Bronze Age piece was unearthed along with other ancient objects, including daggers, arrowheads, and a part of an axe. Archaeologists believe the site was the grave of a high-standing member of the local community.

"As far as I know," said Itach, "this is the first time such an extensive collection of funerary goods, including such a unique vessel, has been discovered in this country."

Israel has been the site of many modern archaeological discoveries as it served as a geographical bridge between the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. The country also contains multiple holy cites for the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.

ae/kl (dpa, AFP)

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