farms in Gaza strip He discovered a 4,500-year-old statue of an ancient goddess while working on his land.
The statue represents Ras Anat, “the goddess of love, beauty and war” in Canaanite mythology, according to Jamal Abu Rida, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Nidal Abu Eid, the farmer who discovered the discovery, said he was working his land as usual on Monday in the Qarara area east of Khan Yunis, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, when he discovered it.
“While I was plowing the land to plant it, we discovered this statue,” he told NBC News on Wednesday. “What caught our attention was the engraving of the snake on the head, which means it is very important.”
In the statue, Anat is shown wearing a snake as a crown, as a symbol of strength and invisibility. The goddess probably inspired Athenathe Greek goddess of war, who is also often depicted surrounded by snakes.
The 6.7-inch-high limestone head dates back to around 2500 B.C. and is now on display at Qasr al-Basha, a small museum with an antiquities department in Gaza, the ministry said.
For Abu Eid, the discovery also had a deeper historical significance.
He said, “This statue documents the history of the Palestinian people on this land, and that their origins are Canaanite.” Abu Eid added that he did not consider selling the piece and instead donated it to the museum because he felt it belonged to the Palestinian people.
Abu Rida said in a press conference on Tuesday that the land of the Gaza Strip “passed through many human civilizations, whether they were Canaanite, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and other human civilizations.”
The name “Kanaan” appears in the language ancient egyptian Writing from the fifteenth century BC, as well as in the Old Testament. In these texts, the word “Canaan” refers to territories that include parts of Syria, Israel, Jordan, and the modern Palestinian territories.
The belief of the people who lived there at that time was marked by the worship of local deities in local temples, and images of deities were rare, which made this new discovery a rarity.
As a natural port linking ancient trade routes from Egypt to the Levant, the Gaza Strip is rich in history and culture. However, the ruins have always been at risk as a result of war, political uprisings, looting, and the rapid urban development needed to accommodate the enclave’s population of more than two million people.
The densely populated strip of land has also faced a crippling land, air and sea blockade by Israel since Hamas seized power in 2007 in a power struggle with the rival Palestinian movement Fatah.
In 2017, Hamas bulldozed the excavation site of Tel al-Sakan, a 25-acre Canaanite city built more than 1,000 years before the pyramids and discovered in 1998. Active excavations at the site ceased in 2002 during the Palestinian uprising against Israel. forces. Hamas has said it needs the land to build housing for its employees, and to accommodate Gaza’s rapidly growing population with little access to outdoor spaces.
But in a press conference yesterday, Abu Rida also formulated the discovery of the Canaanite goddess geopolitically: “Such discoveries prove that Palestine has a civilization and history, and no one can deny or falsify this history,” he said. “This is the Palestinian people and their ancient Canaanite civilization.”
Felicity Copping, principal trustee of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London, a body that provides funding for archaeological and historical research in Palestine, said the discovery could represent a new path for Hamas authorities.
“The relationship between archeology and urban development is always a difficult one, but the successes of recent archaeological projects have proven to be of benefit to the people of Gaza,” she said.
In practice, the projects allow for collaboration between local and international universities and the heritage industry, and build historical knowledge of the land. It also holds the promise of expanding domestic tourism.”
“These archaeological discoveries are important for building infrastructure in Gaza as a place that has the right to life and the right to exist and for people to enjoy and celebrate their culture,” she said.
For Waheed Al-Jabari And News agency Contributed.
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