The goddess of beauty, love, and war is now above ground. A farmer discovered the head of a 4,500-year-old stone statue in the Gaza Strip — it depicts the Canaanite deity Anat, BBC News reports.
The farmer was reportedly digging on his Khan Younis land, located in the south of the Strip, when he discovered an artifact. Farmer Nidal Abu Eid says finding the stone wasn't his intention, it happened by chance. After washing off the mud with water, he noticed the 8.7-inch carving was the face of a goddess wearing a serpent crown.
"We realized that it was a precious thing, but we didn't know it was of such great archaeological value," Eid adds. "We thank God, and we are proud that it stayed in our land, in Palestine, since the Canaanite times." Jamal Abu Rida of the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said during a Tuesday press conference that the artifact was "resistant against time."
Experts examined the statue and it now sits on display in Qasr al-Basha, a Gaza museum. Rida says the statue not only represents beauty, love, and war but also makes a political point. "Such discoveries prove that Palestine has civilization and history, and no one can deny or falsify this history," he said.
As The Daily Beast's Philippe Naughton reviews, the Canaanites "were a Semitic-speaking civilization in the second millennium B.C. whose lands covered modern-day Israel, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and parts of Syria and Jordan." Read more at BBC News.