6-year-old on stroll discovers rare Canaanite artifact

May 27, 2020 by JNS
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An Israeli 6-year-old out on a hike with his family before the coronavirus lockdown in March is credited with discovering a very rare artifact attributed to the Canaanites 3,500 years ago.

The tablet discovered in March 2020 that shows a Canaanite captor controlling a Canaanite captive. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

Imri Elya was walking with his family at the archaeological site Tel Gama of Kibbutz Re’emim near the Gaza border when he found a square clay impression of a man who appeared to be held captive by another man, according to an Israeli Antiquities Authority press release.

As per Israeli law, Imri’s parents—suspecting that the item was an ancient artifact—turned it in to the Israel Antiquities Authority and the National Treasures Department.

The organizations photographed and documented the find, and determined that the 1.1-inch-square clay impression was probably a badge or medal of honour made to commemorate a Canaanite battle victory some time in the Late Bronze Age between the 12th and 15th centuries BCE.

According to archaeologists, the item comes from a period in which the Egyptians ruled a Canaan divided into city-states governed by local kings which periodically had internal wars and power conflicts.

In investigating it, researchers compared it to similar artifacts, the most similar of which was discovered in Northern Sinai 100 years ago during a British excavation, according to a report by The Times of Israel.

“The scene depicted on the tablet is taken from descriptions of victory parades; hence the tablet should be identified as a story depicting the ruler’s power over his enemies. This opens a visual window to understanding the struggle for dominance in the south of the country during the Canaanite period,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

According to archaeologists, Tel Gama may be the site of the Canaanite city of Yurza, mentioned in ancient Egyptian letters and annals as the southernmost edge of Canaan.

As a reward for finding the item, Imri was presented with a certificate of good citizenship and was photographed with the small tablet.


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