The 11-year-old discovered the late Iron Age (2,500 year old) female figurine on a family trip in the western Negev
Painstaking work and years of research leads to most advances in biblical archaeology. But luck is important too. On a family trip at Nahal HaBesor, 11-year-old Zvi Ben-David found a rare pottery figurine of a woman. It turns out this is one of only two such figurines ever to be discovered. What is believed to have been a common household protective amulet at the end of the Iron age or early Persian period, is now a rare relic of that distant biblical time.
The amulet, less than 3 inches tall and a bit more than 2 inches wide. depicts the top half of a bare-breasted woman with her hands folded under her chest. She is wearing a scarf over her head and neck. Oren Shmueli and Debbie Ben Ami of the Israel Antiquities Authority explain that the amulet would have been kept for protection, good luck, and prosperity. Also, to try and protect against infant mortality, which was very common. “In the absence of advanced medicine, amulets provided hope.”
Shmueli and Ben Ami express their gratitude to Zvi Ben-David for his find, and for sharing it with the National Treasures Collection. The rare figurine provides insight from 2,500 years ago into “cultic practices in biblical times, and man’s inherent need for material human personifications.”
Rudolph Cohen’s redating of some of his “Solomonic fortresses” to the Persian period will not be enough to satisfy many scholars.
How Magic and Miracles Spread Christianity by Robert Knapp
In the early centuries of the Common Era, Christianity spread throughout the Roman world—gaining Jewish and polytheist converts alike. Magic and miracles played a significant role in the dissemination of this new, revolutionary religion.
An enormous number of Iron Age fortresses have been uncovered in the Central Negev, especially in recent years. The question is, what are they doing here? The answer depends in large part on who built them. And to determine who built them, we need to know as precisely as possible when they were built.