ancient statue ancient statue It's not unusual to find ancient jugs, but archaeologists have never seen a figurine on top like this before. (Photo: Klara Amit / Israeli Antiquities Authority)

Newly discovered 3,800-year-old statuette looks oddly familiar

A pottery jug shaped like a thinking man reminds us of a famous 20th-century sculpture.

Even though this 3,800-year-old pottery jug was recently discovered near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, we can't help but feel like we've seen it somewhere before much closer to home. If you've got the same nagging feeling, take a look at 20th-century French artist Auguste Rodin's famous sculpture: "The Thinker."

This modern bronze sculpture may be more detailed than its Bronze Age counterpart, but the two pieces of art certainly seem to be working with the same idea. They might even be having the same idea. What could they be thinking about? The oddly cyclical nature of art? Lunch?


the thinkerFrench sculptor Auguste Rodin's 'The Thinker' in the Hotel Biron garden in Paris. (Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli archaeologists and high school students (because Israeli high school students apparently make more impressive archaeological findings during field trips than many career professionals do their entire lives) found this jug in Yehud, a town near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

While jugs like this are fairly common finds in a region dense with ancient objects, the statue on top is unusual. More than unusual: archaeologists have never seen anything like it in the area before.

"It is a very unique vessel," explained Elisheva Kamaisky, the Israeli Antiquities Authority's head of pottery conservation. "There is no other one like it that we know about as of today."

On their excavation, the archaeologists and students also found arrowheads, an axe head, daggers and sheep and donkey bones. So the evidence indeed points toward some lunch-related thoughts – mutton, apparently.

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