Biblical fertility amulet found by 11-year-old in the Negev – The Jerusalem Post

A child on a family hike in the Negev found a figurine dating back to the biblical period, the Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.

Pottery figurines of bare-breasted women are known from various periods in Israel, including the First Temple era, according to Oren Shmueli and Debbie Ben Ami, IAA curators of the Iron Age and Persian periods. They were common in the home and in everyday life, like the hamsa [hand design] today, and apparently served as amulets to ensure protection, good luck and prosperity.

We must bear in mind that in antiquity, medical understanding was rudimentary. Infant mortality was very high, and about a third of those born did not survive. There was little understanding of hygiene, and fertility treatment was naturally nonexistent. In the absence of advanced medicine, amulets provided hope and an important way of appealing for aid.

The pottery figurine, about seven centimeters high and six cm. wide, was spotted by 11-year-old Zvi Ben-David from Beersheba while on a family trip to Nahal Habesor, a trail in the South that follows the Besor River riverbed.

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The boys mother, a professional tour guide, understood the importance of the find and alerted the IAA.

Only one other similar figurine, also found in the northern Negev, is kept at the National Treasures collection.

The exemplary citizenship of young Zvi Ben-David will enable us to improve our understanding of cultic practices in biblical times and mans inherent need for material human personifications, Shmueli and Ben-Ami were quoted as saying.

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Biblical fertility amulet found by 11-year-old in the Negev - The Jerusalem Post

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