Palmachim beachgoer finds 3,000-year-old Egyptian goddess figurine

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An Israeli woman walking on the Palmachim beach in southern Israel found an ancient figurine of an Egyptian goddess believed to be more than 3,000 years old, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.

Lydia Marner, 74, who was walking on the beach with her husband a few weeks ago, says she suddenly noticed the little round statuette washed up on the shore.

“It was a very stormy day, the waves were high, the weather was wintery,” she said. “We were walking along the sea when I suddenly noticed a stone coming to me.”

“I called my husband and said that is not an ordinary [stone]. I saw there was something special,” she said.

After taking it home and doing some research, she contacted the IAA, who sent experts over who confirmed that it was a figurine of the Egyptian goddess Hathor and most likely more than 3,000 years old.

“These figurines, which were used for worship, are generally identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor and are indicative of the Canaanite culture in the Land of Israel, especially during the late Bronze Age,” said the IAA’s Amir Golani.

Lydia Marner shows off the figurine of the Egyptian goddess Hathor that she found washed up on Palmachim beach in 2023 (Idan Horen/ IAA)

Golani said the figurines were generally placed around the house to bring luck and fortune and Hathor was linked to “fertility, strength, defense and wisdom.”

He said that even though the figurine was very worn, it could be identified as Hathor by the hairstyle in the shape of ox horns and the prominent ears and eyes.

The figurine was handed over to the IAA as part of a recently launched campaign to get Israelis to turn in any antiquities they may have found.

“Many people have in their homes antiquities that came into their possession under various circumstances. Some were found in the field, others were inherited, and more,” said IAA director Eli Eskosido.

“Many people are not aware that according to the law they have to report the antiquities, which are a public historical treasure,” he said.

Despite having to hand over her find, Marner was still pleased.

“I’m very happy that it was my privilege to find this very special wonder,” she said.

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