Rare figurines uncovered at lost biblical city

A  rare figurine of the Canaanite god Baal and a bronze calf statue are among the fascinating finds which Macquarie University archaeologists have uncovered in Israel.

Ancient artefacts dating back 3,300 years have been unearthed by Macquarie University archaeologists at a long-lost city believed to be linked to King David.

A  rare ‘smiting god’ figurine, a bronze calf figurine, two seals and decorated Canaanite and Philistine pottery from the 12th Century BCE were discovered at Khirbet el-Rai in Israel by a team of 32 Macquarie University students and three high school teachers during a three-week excavation in February.

The students, from Macquarie University’s Ancient Israel Program, have been excavating the 1.7 hectare site in partnership with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Macquarie archaeology students were delighted when they unearthed the bronze figure of the Canaanite god Baal, poised to smite his enemies, and a small bronze calf, bringing images to mind of the biblical ‘golden calf’.

“When we go on an archaeological excavation, we have high hopes and low expectations but of course it’s wonderful when we make exciting finds,” said Dr Gil Davis, Director of the Ancient Israel Program at Macquarie University.

“We dream of making discoveries that will change our understanding of a significant part of the ancient past.”

Read the article by Sophie Gidley (Khirbet el-Rai, Israel) from The Lighthouse (Macquarie University).