Gaza: Palestinian farmer discovers ancient statue of Canaanite goddess – Business Insider

  • A Palestinian farmer in Gaza discovered a 4,500-year-old stone statue of a Canaanite goddess.
  • The statue depicts the goddess Anat — the Canaanite deity of love and war.
  • Historians believe that Anat was the inspiration for the Greek goddess Athena.

A Palestinian farmer discovered the head of a 4,500-year-old statue of the Canaanite goddess of love and war, according to reports.

Nidal Abu Eid was ploughing his land in Khan Yonis, in the Gaza Strip, when he stumbled upon the ancient stone statue, CNN reported. 

“We found it by chance,” he told BBC News. “It was muddy and we washed it with water.”

At first, the farmer had hoped to sell it to make some money, he told The New Arab, per CNN.  “But an archaeologist told me that it was of great archaeological value,” he said.

The farmer handed it over to the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, per NBC News, who have put it on display at the Al-Basha Palace Museum in Gaza City.

The limestone statue is dated to 2,500 BC, the ministry noted, per NBC News. 

It shows the head of the Canaanite goddess Anat who, according to Canaanite mythology, was the deity of love and war. She was famous for her youthful looks and ferocity in battle.

The statue shows Anat’s head encircled by a snake crown. Historians believe Anat influenced the character of the Greek goddess Athena, who was also regularly portrayed with snakes surrounding her.

The front and side of the 4,500-year-old statue of Canaanite goddess Anat.
The front and side of the 4,500-year-old statue of Canaanite goddess Anat.
Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“This statue documents the history of the Palestinian people on this land and that its origins are Canaanite,” Abu Eid said, per NBC News.

The Canaanites were an ancient group of pagan people who lived in the land of Canaan, an area that may have included parts of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Canaan is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament.

The Canaanites were polytheistic people who worshipped local deities, several of which were co-opted by subsequent civilizations. In 2020, archeologists unearthed an ancient Canaanite temple in southern Israel and an idol of the Canaanite god Baal.

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Gaza: Palestinian farmer discovers ancient statue of Canaanite goddess – Business Insider

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