JERUSALEM (AFP).- A boy aged seven uncovered a 3,400-year-old Canaanite statue of a naked woman during a hike in the Jordan Valley in northern Israel, the antiquities authority said Thursday.
Ori Greenhut was on an outing at the archaeological site of Tel Rehov, south of Beit Shean, when he spotted "an image of a person covered with soil", the IAA said, on a stone small enough to fit in his hand.
He wiped off the mud to find a clay figurine of a naked woman with what appears to be braided hair, standing with her arms to the side and hands on hips.
"It is typical of the Canaanite culture of the 15th-13th centuries BC," said Amihai Mazar, excavation director of Tel Rehov.
"Some researchers think the figure depicted here is that of a real flesh and blood woman, and others view her as the fertility goddess Astarte, known from Canaanite sources and from the Bible," he said in a statement distributed by the IAA.
"Evidently the figurine belonged to one of the residents of the city of Rehov, which was then ruled by the central government of the Egyptian pharaohs," Mazar said.
Greenhut had brought the figurine home, and his family handed it over to the IAA, which in turn awarded him a certificate for good citizenship.
Tel Rehov was the site of a Canaanite city in the Late Bronze Age, the IAA said.
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