9,500-Year-Old “Cultic” Figurines Found in Israel

9,500-Year-Old “Cultic” Figurines Found in Israel

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Archaeologists have uncovered two 9,500-year-old cultic figurines in excavations just outside of Jerusalem, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported. Found at the Tel Moza archaeological site, one of the Neolithic figures is a limestone ram with precisely carved spiral horns. “The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the anima’s image,” the IAA excavators said in a statement about the ram, adding that “the head and the horns protrude in front of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate.” The other is a more abstract sculpture of a wild bovine fashioned from dolomite, according to the IAA. Both are about 6 inches long.

Archaeologists believe these objects might have had cultic importance for the people who created them. The animal figurines were found near the remains of an ancient round building, dating back to a dynamic time in the region’s history when humans were transitioning from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one of farming and settling in villages.

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