Storm in Israel unearths Roman statue

Dec. 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM

ASHKELON, Israel, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The massive storms that hit Israel earlier this week unearthed a white marble Roman statue of a woman in Ashkelon, officials said.

The 4-foot statue of a woman with her head missing, thought to be 1,650- to 1,800-years-old, was discovered when a cliff crumbled at an archaeological dig in Ashkelon, Dr. Yigal Israel of the Israel Antiquities Authority told Haaretz.

"It is a lovely white statue that is missing its head and part of a hand. It was apparently imported from Italy, Greece or Asia Minor and may have represented the goddess Aphrodite," he said.

"The woman depicted in the statue is wearing a toga and leaning on a square stone column. Her clothing was chiseled meticulously -- her toes are delicate. We see her sandals and her small emphasized bosom. Simply a stunningly beautiful statue," he said.

A passerby alerted the authorities after spotting the statue in seawater, he said, noting it was in remarkably good condition despite the fall.

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