You never know what you might find taking a walk in nature in Israel. A young 6 year old boy, Imri Elya, recently went with his parents to visit the archaeological site of Tel Jemmah, east of the Gaza Strip. An object in the ground caught his attention and when he picked it up he say that it was a metal carving of two figures, one leading a captive. The family contacted Israel’s Antiquities Authority and turned it over to them for analysis and learned that the piece is the first of its kind to be discovered in Israel. It is believed to be 3,500 years old, from the Canaanite era.
According to the Antiquities authority, the artifact was imprinted in a carved pattern depicting the scene of a man wearing a skirt leading a naked captive with his hands folded and tied behind his back. The facial features of the two men are starkly different with the captor having curly hair and a full face while the prisoner is thin. Because of the parallels to the Egyptian art world and local Canaanite art it is believe that the artifact dates to between the 12th and 15th century BCE. During this period the Egyptian Empire ruled this region which was divided into city states and ruled by different kings.
Tel Jemmeh is identified with the Canaanite city of Yurza – one of the strongest Canaanite cities in the south of the country, according to archaeological research. There were power struggles between Yurza and cities closer to where the artifact was found such as Ashkelon, Gaza, Lachish, etc. Researches believe that it underscores the power struggles of the region during the Canaanite period.
The Israel Antiquities Authority awarded the young boy with a certificate of recognition for his important discovery.
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Government Press Office