1,800 year-old marble figurine found in Israel

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Washington, September 23 (ANI): An 1,800 year old unusual figurine bust made of marble and depicting a miniature image of a bearded man's head has been discovered in Israel.

According to a report in the Epoch Times, the figurine was found in an excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the area of the Givati car park in the City of David, in the Walls around Jerusalem National Park.

Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, directors of the site excavation, said that the high level of finish on the figurine is extraordinary, and it meticulously adheres to the tiniest of details.

The man depicted in the bust has a short curly beard, and its head is slightly inclined to the right.

Both details are indicative of Greek-influenced work and dates it around the second or third centuries, considered a zenith of Roman sculpture.

The marble is also of a pale yellow shade, which indicates raw material from an eastern origin. The exact origin of the materials is being investigated.

The stylistic motifs that are manifested in the image, such as its short hairstyle, the prominent lobes and curves of the ears, as well as the almond-shaped eyes suggest that the object most likely portrays an athlete, probably a boxer.

Boxing was one of the most popular fields of heavy athletics in Roman culture and more than once Roman authors mention the demand by the Roman public in general, and the elite in particular, for boxing matches.

Besides the prestige and the substantial amounts of money the victors of boxing competitions won, they were also afforded the support of the emperor himself, as in the famous case of Melancomas who was Titus' favorite boxer.

Dr. Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets believe that the finding is unique.

They said that no similar artifact made of marble (or any other kind of stone) bearing the same image has been discovered in excavations elsewhere in the country.

According to the researchers, the two tiny holes that were drilled in the figurine's nape and which contained the remains of metal that was inserted in them indicate that this is a suspended weight that was used with hanging scales that are characteristic of the Roman period.

They also said that the marble weight likely belonged to a family of merchants who originally came from somewhere in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. (ANI)

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