Shalom Life | July 02, 2015

Giant 2,000-Year-Old Dolphin Statue Discovered Near Gaza

Archeologists discovered a 16-inch marble statue during an excavation earlier this year

By: Maria Cruz

Published: June 30th, 2015 in News » Israel

Photo: Dolphin statue discovered near Gaza

Credit: IAA/Times of Israel


Earlier this year, a team of archaeologists from Israel’s Antiquities Authority discovered what appeared to be an approximate 2000-year-old marble statue. The IAA team shared their findings with the public this week.

The piece, a dolphin with a fish between its jaws, was discovered during excavations near Kibbutz Magen, which borders the Gaza Strip. Alexander Fraiberg, head archaeologist with the IAA team, theorizes that the 16-inch piece may have been part of a larger statue from the Roman era.

A statuette of a dolphin found near Kibbutz Magen, near the Gaza Strip. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Dr. Rina Avner, an archaeologist with IAA who specializes in the Roman and Byzantine eras, also predicted that the piece could have very well come from a statue depicting a god or goddess, such as Aphrodite or Poseidon. Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation, was said to be born from sea foam and her origin story is depicted as such in famous paintings like Birth of Venusby Sandro Botticelli. Similarly, Poseidon, god of the sea, was often depicted with dolphins and other sea creatures, such as Fontana del Nettuno(Neptune Fountain) in Rome.

Both deities are also featured on coins from the ancient port city of Ashkelon, which houses a temple to Aphrodite.

“The mystery is where the statue came from, who destroyed it, when, and under what circumstances, and who brought the piece with the dolphin to the site,” Fraiberg said.

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