7-year-old Israeli hiker discovers 3,400-year-old statuette

The 3,400-year-old statue discovered by 7-year-old hiker Uri Grinhot in Israel. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

(JNS.org) A 7-year-old Israeli boy discovered a rare 3,400-year-old relic while on a hike with his father and some friends in the Beit She’an Valley in northern Israel this week.

While climbing a hill in the archaeological park of Tel Rehov, Uri Grinhot found a clay statuette of a nude woman.

“We explained to him that it was an antique, and that the [Israel] Antiquities Authority maintains its findings for the general public,” said Grinhot’s mother, Moriah. The family then reported the finding to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

Amichai Mazar—an emeritus professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the leader of a delegation of archaeological excavation representatives in the area—examined the statue and said he determined that “it is typical of the Canaanite culture of the 15th to 13th centuries BC. Some researchers believe the figure represents a woman of flesh and blood, and others see it as Astarte, goddess of fertility, known from Canaanite [history] and the bible.”

The IAA presented Grinhot a certificate for good citizenship for discovering and reporting the finding. Archaeologists later came to his school to discuss the statuette.

“It was an amazing occasion! The archaeologists entered the class during a Torah lesson, just when we were learning about Rahel stealing her father’s household gods ("trafim" which are mentioned in Genesis 31). I explained that the household gods were statues that were used in idol worship, and all of a sudden I realize that these very same idols are here in the classroom!” said the boy’s teacher, Esther Ledell.

Posted on February 25, 2016 .