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2 August 2010
Worshipper figurine found in Lebanon

Archaeologists working at the College site in Sidon (Lebanon), have discovered the city's oldest statue of a person at worship, as well as pictures of gods. The figure wears a long dress, has incised hair, and is holding its arms bent in front of its body, interpreted as a gesture of respect. Claude Serhal, the head of the delegation of British Museum archaeologists who have been working at the site in co-operation with the Lebanese Department of Antiquities for 12 years, stated that it is a 'major discovery' since it is "the first time we found a complete statue of a worshiper dating back to the third millennium BCE." The worshipper was found in one of two newly excavated rooms that belong to a 10-room structure dating to that period.
     As well as the figurine, a burial of child in a jar with an ox horn placed above it was found, revealing detail about funeral feasts, and bringing the number of graves found up to 114.
     While small, the site is nevertheless significant. Serhal notes that it has "a chronological succession of various eras..." with new rooms being discovered every year. Hundreds of jars were found both inside and outside of one monumental L-shaped building constructed with large stone blocks, testifying to intense commercial activity in the Late Iron Age, the Persian Period.
     At the newly excavated Sandlikli site, finds included a gold Abbasid dinar, Mameluke pottery, and an Iron Age building. Serhal suggests that the this site also has great potential because of its "continuity through time and exceptional finds." Serhal says that research needs to be ongoing to reveal more about the first and second millennia: "we need to have a clearer image about people's everyday lives and their religious and burial rituals... This is essential to interpret history in a way that is accessible to everyone."
     There are plans to turn the College site area into an open museum.

Source: The Daily Star (28 July 2010)

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