A stone statuette over 4,500 years old depicting the face of an ancient goddess was discovered in the southern Gaza Strip, officials in Hamas announced Monday.
Carved out of limestone and 22 centimeters (8.6 inches) long, the 2500 BCE statuette was found by a farmer working his land in Khan Younis, according to the ministry of tourism and antiquities for Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza.
“The statue represents the Canaanite goddess Anat,” Jamal Abu Reda, in charge of antiquities at the ministry, said in a statement.
Anat, one of the best-known Canaanite deities, was the goddess of love and war.
It was uncovered on what was an important “overland trade route for several civilizations” that lived in what is now the Gaza Strip, according to Abu Reda.
Gaza: The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza announces the discovery of a Canaanite statue inside a land in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, dating back to 2500 BC. pic.twitter.com/o3Zsw6L06F
— Lebanese News and Updates (@LebUpdate) April 25, 2022
In February, workers at a construction site in northern Gaza discovered 31 Roman-era tombs dating to the first century CE.
In January, Hamas reopened the remains of a fifth-century Byzantine church following a years-long restoration effort backed by foreign donors.
In 2017, Hamas destroyed large parts of a rare Canaanite settlement to make way for a housing development for its own employees.