9500-year old ram figurine

Credit: Yael Yolovitch/Israel Antiquities Authority
Archaeologists have unearthed 9,500-year-old figurines of a ram and a wild bovine at the Tel Moza archaeological site, near Jerusalem. According to a report from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the figurines point to the existence of a cultic belief in the region during the New Stone Age.

According to Anna Eirikh and Dr Hamoudi Khalaily “The first figurine, in the shape of a ram with twisted horns, was fashioned from limestone and is about 15 cm in size. The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the animal’s image; the head and the horns protrude in front of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate. The body was made smooth and the legs of the figurine were incised in order to distinguish them from the rest of the body”.

“It is known that hunting was the major activity in this period. Presumably, the figurines served as good-luck statues for ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their prey,” Dr Khalaily said.

Another theory, presented by archaeologist Anna Eirikh, links the figurines from Tel Moza to the process of animal domestication taking place at that time.

My theory is that the figurines suggest the antiquity of traditions leading to the role of shofar in Jewish practice.

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