An Israeli boy’s dream to be like Indiana Jones when he grows up came true ahead of schedule during a recent visit to the Tel Beit Shemesh archaeological site with his family.
Itai Halperin, 8, of Pardesiya, was walking around the biblical site with his family last week when he picked up a small ceramic object which, upon closer examination, turned out to be a 3,000-year-old head of a figurine, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.
The family immediately reported the find to the IAA.
Itai said he recently saw an Indiana Jones film and wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist. The IAA commended Itai and rewarded him by inviting his class to take part in an IAA excavation.
Alon De Groot, an Iron Age specialist with the IAA, identified the find as the head of a fertility goddess statuette.
“Figurines such as these, in the shape of naked women representing fertility, were common in the homes of the residents of the Judean Kingdom in the 8th century BCE and until the destruction of the kingdom by the Babylonians in the days of Zedekia (in 586 BCE),” De Groot said in a statement.
Statuettes such as these help identify sites as Judean, he noted.
“It’s no coincidence that a statuette like this was found atop Tel Beit Shemesh, next to a residential quarter from the First Temple period,” Anna Eirich, an IAA archaeologist in the region, said in a statement.
During the Iron Age, Tel Beit Shemesh was a large Judean city and a major industrial center, she said. It was ruined by the Assyrian army in 701 BCE and finally destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.