In a remarkable turn of events, a beachgoer in Israel stumbled upon a captivating artifact that hearkens back to the age of the pharaohs and the pyramids. Lydia Marner, a 74-year-old woman, made the extraordinary find on Palmachim Beach, located approximately 17 miles south of Tel Aviv.
With great surprise, she spotted the ancient Egyptian figurine gracefully emerging from the rolling waves. “It was a very stormy day, the waves were high, the weather was wintery,” Marner said. “We were walking along the sea when I suddenly noticed a stone coming to me.”
Following careful examination, experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority have determined that this remarkable piece of history is more than 3,000 years old. It is an exquisite representation of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, crafted in the form of a figurine.
The deity Hathor, an influential figure in ancient Egyptian mythology, held a prominent position as the sun goddess. Revered for her immense power, she was regarded as one of the most formidable gods in their pantheon.
According to Amir Golani, a senior research archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the distinctive features of the figurine, such as its worn appearance and age, did not diminish its unmistakable identification as Hathor. This certainty was attributed to the figurine’s notable ox horn-shaped hairstyle, a defining characteristic closely associated with the revered deity.
Detail from tomb (KV17) of King Seti I, who reigned 1294-1279 BC, under 19th Dynasty. It depicts goddess Hathor. She is preeminent solar goddess in Egyptian pantheon. Hathor is also goddess of beauty, love, sexuality, pleasure, intoxication and ecstasy, as well as music and dance pic.twitter.com/OFgLV3h6vl
— Archaeo – Histories (@archeohistories) December 12, 2021
During ancient times, the Egyptian people commonly placed figurines like the one discovered on the beach around their households. These small statues held great significance as they were believed to attract favorable circumstances and bestow good luck and fortune upon their owners.
Possession of the artifacts in Israeli law
Lydia Marner was not permitted to keep her extraordinary discovery, as per Israeli law, which designates all ancient treasures as the rightful property of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). This legal provision ensures that such valuable artifacts remain under the jurisdiction and protection of the IAA.
Speaking on the matter, Eli Eskosido, the director of the IAA, emphasized the importance of adhering to these regulations. He stated, “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.”
Eskosido further highlighted that numerous people are unaware of the legal obligation to report these antiquities, which hold significant historical value and are considered a shared cultural heritage. Despite the disappointment of parting with her remarkable find, Marner expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to closely observe the figurine.
She said, “I’m very happy that it was my privilege to find this very special wonder.”