Washington, Sep 21 (ANI): University of Haifa diggers have found a rare bronze signet ring with the impression of the face of the Greek sun god, Apollo, at Tel Dor, in northern Israel.
"A piece of high-quality art such as this, doubtlessly created by a top-of-the-line artist, indicates that local elites developing a taste for fine art and the ability to afford it were also living in provincial towns, and not only in the capital cities of the Hellenistic kingdoms," sxplained Ayelet Gilboa, of the University of Haifa.
When the ring was recovered from a waste pit near Hellenistic structures, it was covered with layers of earth and corrosion, and the archaeologists had no indication whatsoever that it would reveal the shape of a legendary figure.
The archaeological context and style of the signet ring date it back to the 4th or 3rd century B.C.E.
This type of ring was used as a seal or was dedicated to the temple of the god imprinted on the ring. Since it was found in an urban context and at an orderly archaeological dig, the discovery is of great significance: Most of the small pieces of art originating in the Near East until now are of unknown origin, having been displaced through illegal antique trade, or purchased by museums and collectors before scientific archaeological research began.
The ring also testifies to the cosmopolitan character of this region as far back as 2,300 years ago. Despite the damage caused over the centuries, its high quality is easily recognizable.
These finds indicate that the circulation of fine art objects was not limited to the capital cities of the Hellenistic kingdoms in the east, such as Alexandria in Egypt or Antioch and Seleucia in Syria, where the main populations were Greek, but also spread to smaller centers, such as Dor, which was primarily populated by local Phoenician inhabitants.(ANI)