Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a rare ancient jug adorned with a curious figurine that appears to be a state of contemplation.

The 18-centimeter pottery vessel, dating back 3,800 years, was found in a grave along with an array of other relics at an excavation site in Jehud, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced last week.

With the neck of the jug serving as its body, the unique statuette appears to have been added sometime after the jug was made, the IAA said on its website.

Excavation director Gilad Itach noted the remarkable detail of nearly 4,000-year-old clary figurine. “One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand, as if in a state of reflection,” he said.

The team, assisted by students, made the discovery on the last day of the dig. The site is set to be developed into residential housing.

Other findings at the ancient settlement include metal daggers and arrowheads, as well as animal bones. As the objects were found in a grave, Itach added, “It seems that these objects are funerary offerings that were buried in honor of an important member of the ancient community.”

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Close-up of a clay figurine uncovered at an excavation site in Jehud, Israel, in November. Credit: Eyecon, IAI


August Rodin’s Le Penseur at the Musee Rodin in Paris, France