Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza Jamal Abu Rida said in a press conference that the head, which was revealed to the public on Tuesday, was found in the Sheikh Hamouda neighborhood in Khan Yunis.
“At first, I was hoping to sell it to someone to make some money, but the archaeologist told me it was of great archaeological value,” farmer Nidal Abu Eid told The New Arab.
Reda said ministry workers concluded that the head belonged to a statue of Anat, the goddess of love, beauty and war in Canaanite mythology.
The Canaanites were an ancient pagan people that the Bible says inhabited Jerusalem and other parts of the Middle East before monotheism emerged.
A farmer found the statue while he was working on his land. credit: Mustafa Hassouna/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Reda described the statue as “a symbol of the oldest human civilization that lived in Gaza City.”
Ministry official Nariman Khalih said that the statue will be displayed at the Al-Basha Palace Museum in Gaza in the next few days.
The museum, one of the few in Gaza, served as a girls’ school before it was turned into a museum thanks to a German grant.
The first story of the palace goes back to the Mamluks, a Muslim dynasty that ruled Egypt and much of the Levant from Cairo from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
The second story is largely an Ottoman building, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
Gaza receives almost no outside tourists, as movement in and out of the Strip is severely restricted.
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CNN correspondent Mohamed Abdel Bari contributed to this report.
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