Ancient figurines found outside Jerusalem

Aug. 30, 2012 at 7:52 AM
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Israeli archaeologists unearthed two figurines estimated to be more than 9,000 years old, dating back to the New Stone Age in excavations outside Jerusalem.

The figurines were found near a large round building with a fieldstone foundation and mud-brick walls in Tel Motza, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

"The first figurine, in the shape of a ram with twisted horns, was fashioned from limestone and is 15 centimeters in size. The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the animal's image. ... The second figurine which was fashioned on hard, smooth dolomite, is an abstract design; yet it too seems to depict a large animal with prominent horns that separate the elongated body from the head ... and resemble those of a wild bovine or buffalo," said Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily, director of the excavations at the site.

The pre-Pottery Neolithic B period in the eighth millennium BCE is considered one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of mankind, Khalaily said.

"Many changes took place in that it shaped human society for thousands of years to come. During this period the transition began from nomadism based on hunting and gathering to sedentary life, based on farming and grazing," he said.

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