LAPIDARY ART: College Students Find Ancient Stone Lioness During Field Trip in Northern Israel. Israel is littered with archaeological finds and antiquities, but finding not one but two lioness statues by accident is quite the achievement
(Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
Such is Israel. Take a walk, find a lioness, or at least an ancient statue of one. Discovered by chance at Ein Nashut in the Golan Heights, the lady lion was depicted nursing cubs. The artifact is quite weathered after almost 2,000 years of exposure to the elements and much is missing but the identification is unmistakable, says Prof. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee.
Does this object count as a provenanced or unprovenanced artifact? Interesting question. It was not scientifically excavated. It was found by a group of archaeology students on the surface. It may already have been moved before they found it.
It would be nice to hear more about the object's relationship to the synagogue. Evidently both were made of the same material. Are there other artistic representations in the ruins of the synagogue? Can we tell if the object was made with the same workmanship?
No one seems to doubt that it is an ancient artifact originating from the site. I am not suggesting otherwise. But surface surveys raise their own questions and we should still be asking them.
I noted the discovery of the other lioness statue at el-Araj in 2017 here.
Cross-file under Numismatics, with reference to the coin of the Roman Emperor Gallienus found by the same student group at Khirbet Majdukiya.
This seems to be lion statue week. Archaeologists have also excavated a Sphinx-like statue, perhaps representing the Emperor Claudius, in southern Egypt.
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