Israeli woman finds 3000-year-old ‘Egyptian goddess’ on Tel Aviv beach

The Antiquities Authority confirmed that the figurine represented Hathor, an Egyptian goddess associated with fertility, strength, protection and wisdom.

By Pesach Benson, JNS

A woman strolling on Israel’s Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv found a 3,000-year-old figurine of an Egyptian goddess, which she turned over to archaeologists at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Lydia Marner, 74, a resident of Lod and an Azerbaijani immigrant, said she and her husband noticed an object emerge from the sea one stormy day “about a month ago.”

Understanding she had found something significant, Marner contacted friends who were knowledgeable in archaeology, then reached out to the Antiquities Authority via its Facebook page.

Inspectors Dror Citron and Idan Horn were dispatched to examine the ancient figurine. After examining and cleaning the statuette, the Authority announced the find on Tuesday.

“I can’t believe I had the privilege of finding this. At first my husband laughed at me, but today the whole family already knows the amazing story that happened to me. I’m very happy that the honor of finding it fell to me,” Marner said.

The Antiquities Authority confirmed that the figurine represented Hathor, an Egyptian goddess associated with fertility, strength, protection and wisdom.

According to Amir Golani, an expert on the Bronze Age at the authority, “The Canaanites used to adopt ritual and religious customs of the Egyptians, who ruled our region at the time. Just like homes today, where you install a mezuzah or hang a picture of a saint on the wall, they used to place ritual figurines in a central place in the house, for good luck and protection from bad things.”

The statuette was made of clay that was embedded into a stone pattern, a process allowing people to quickly produce numerous such figurines, he explained.

“It can be recognized that this is Ella Hathor by her hairstyle, which simulates the horns of a bull, and by the prominent eyes and ears that were designed for her,” Golani said.

Marner’s discovery coincides with the launch of the Antiquities Authority’s “Return Them With a Click” campaign to encourage Israelis with artifacts in their homes to turn them over to the state.