That kids love rock collecting is a given. Finding an unusual stone is every junior geologist’s dream. But turning up an ancient relic? Now, that’s pretty amazing.
Zvi Ben-David was on a family hike near Israel’s Besor River when something out of the ordinary caught his eye. When the 11-year-old snapped the artifact up, he likely had no idea he was in for an Indiana Jones moment.
The small object he’d unearthed was in fact a 2,500-year-old fertility amulet. “The figurine that Zvi discovered is so rare that only one such example exists in the National Treasures collection,” the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) posted on their Facebook page.
Worn smooth over centuries, the diminutive statuette depicting a bare-breasted woman is just 2.75 inches tall and 2.36 inches wide (7 centimeters by 6 centimeters).
Considered a good-luck icon during the late First Temple Period (the era between the time King Solomon’s Temple was built circa 957 BCE and destroyed circa 587 BCE), such amulets were thought to bring prosperity and protection.
Though a small country in area, Israel is home to 37 registered archaeological sites. Thanks to its being the location of the Bronze Age settlement of Tel Gamma, as well as its mention in The Book of Samuel, Nahal Besor is steeped in both historic and biblical meaning. For decades, archeologists have steadily striven to uncover the region’s hidden secrets.
Ben-David’s mom, Miriam, is a professional tour guide. Immediately realizing the item’s historic significance, she alerted the IAA to her son’s discovery. The organization was delighted by the find and the finder as well.
“The exemplary citizenship of young Zvi Ben-David will enable us to improve our understanding of cultic practices in biblical times, and man’s inherent need for material human personifications,” the IAA stated on Facebook. “The whole Ben-David family deserves a huge shoutout. Don’t you agree?”
Indeed, we do. “Mazel tov!”