Gales unearth Roman-era statue on Israel's coast

ASHKELON, Israel Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:56pm EST

1 of 4. A Roman statue stands on the shore of the Mediterranean sea in the southern city of Ashkelon December 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

ASHKELON, Israel (Reuters) - A Roman statue that had been buried for centuries has been unearthed by the winter gales that have raked Israel's coast.

The white-marble figure of a woman in toga and sandals was found in the remains of a cliff that crumbled under the force of winds, waves and rain at the ancient port of Ashkelon, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday.

"The sea gave us this amazing statue," said Yigal Israeli, a researcher with the authority.

He said the statue, which lacks a head and arms, is about 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall, weighs 200 kg (440 pounds) and dates back to the Roman occupation of what was western Judea, between 1,800 and 2,000 years ago. It will be put on display in museums.

Also recovered at the site were fragments of a Roman bath-house and mosaics.

But long-established Israeli archaeological sites such as the ruins of coastal Caesarea suffered serious damage in the storm, so the statue's find brought the Authority little joy.

"We don't see this discovery as such good news," said another Authority official, who declined to be named. "Better that relics remain hidden and protected, than that they be exposed and damaged."

(Writing by Dan Williams)

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Comments (2)
miss_webster wrote:
What a amazing find. Extraordinary !! It’s a beautiful piece.

Dec 14, 2010 12:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
oldtimer78 wrote:
Are there yet any theories about how such a statue got into a cliff in the first place? It seems an odd sort of thing to happen. Unless the statue was buried for safety and the land, near the sea, was eroded over a great many years. Or maybe, as it had no head or arms, the owner thought it best to bury it to get rid of it, then erosion brought it out again.

Dec 15, 2010 5:49pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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