There’s something amazing about childhood. We’re naive, innocent, and mostly we’re so full of play and fun. Anything can be used as a toy for the whole world is a playground. In a younger stage, children do not differentiate good from wrong. They don’t care about expensive or cheap, safe or dangerous, valuable or worthless.
Remember yourself when you were 11 years old. What did you think back then? What did you like to spend the afternoons after school? What if you tripped on a strange rocky object buried down in the desert?
Well, this is the story of Zvi Ben-David, an 11-years-old who accidentally found nothing less nothing more than a 2,500-years-old amulet buried in the desert.
The Accidental Stumbling
Negev Desert is a large desert region located in Israel. It is best known for its museum, the Negev Museum of Art, filled up with contemporary Israeli and international exhibitions, the Abraham’s Well, a cultural center that tells the story of Abraham, and Tel Be’er Sheva’s prehistoric ruins.
Zvi Ben-David’s mother works for the museum as a professional tour guide. Like any other regular day, Zvi decided to join his mom on a tour of the desert. But that day was no regular at all.
Zvi noticed a tiny object coming out of the sand as he walked by. He picked it up and realized it was a ceramic figurine of a woman. He decided to show it to his mom. Zvi’s mother immediately realized it was an ancient amulet and notified the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The IAA experts got upon this unique figurine and they found out something really amazing. As a matter of fact, the statue is ancient indeed. Experts believe it dates back from the fifth or sixth century B.C., toward the end of Judaism’s late First Temple period.
Though the statue is small, less than three inches tall, it preserves great historical importance: “it is only the second of its kind ever found in the country. The other specimen was also unearthed in the Negev Desert”, IAA experts stated, according to Antiquities.org.
The figurine represents a bare-chested woman with a scarf that covers her head and neck. It is believed it was used as an amulet. What for? Well, it was intended to promote fertility and protect children.
Fertility 2,500 Years Ago
There are both historical texts and archaeological evidence that show that fertility gods were common in ancient societies. This may have served as inspiration for the amulet. Ceramic amulets were common in everyday life for protection, good luck, and prosperity.
On the other hand, hygiene and medicine weren’t common at all. Amulets provided the families a symbol of hope. Besides, one thing was sure: mortality in ancient times was way higher. In fact, according to an IAA Facebook statement, a third of babies died in infancy.
As for Zvi Ben-David, he received a certificate for discovering the amulet. Way to go, Zvi.