A 3,800-year-old clay figurine of a seated person apparently deep in thought was recently discovered in Israel.
The Israel Antiquities Authority revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 23 that the small figurine wearing a hat and with its chin resting on its hand was unearthed during an excavation at Yehud, a city in the Central District in Israel, by IAA archaeologists and high school students in October.
Ceramic Vessel Ornament
Archaeologist Gilad Itach, who headed the dig, said that they found the 7-inch-tall figurine on the last day of the dig. Excavations were made prior to construction of residential buildings.
The figurine, which was found in a grave, ornamented the top of a ceramic vessel from the Middle Bronze Age, also known as the Canaanite period.
"The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive," Itach said. "The neck of the jug served as a base for forming the upper portion of the figure, after which the arms, legs and a face were added to the sculpture."
The members of the group that unearthed the clay statuette also found other items such as daggers, other vessels, an ax head, arrowheads and sheep bones at the site. Itach said that the items served as funerary objects for an important member of the Canaanite community.
"Such a unique ceramic vessel, which is the first we've found, within the context of the grave, can indicate that an important person was buried there," Itach said.
The archaeologist, however, said that the creators of the objects and the person who was buried in the grave were not known since no writings were left on the scene. It also was not clear if the figure was made by the potter who made the ceramic jug or by another craftsman.
Auguste Rodin's 'The Thinker'
The ancient figurine has been compared to "The Thinker," the famous bronze sculpture made by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. "The Thinker" is so popular people buy smaller duplicates to display in their homes.
Rodin's masterpiece was of a nude male figure sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though in deep thought. Unlike "The Thinker" though, it was not clear if the Bronze Age figurine depicts a male or a female.
The ancient clay figurine discovered in Israel is also 10 times smaller compared with Rodin's work, which was created in 1902 at the end of the 20th century.