Rare statue of Hercules discovered in Northern Israel

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A rare statue depicting the Roman god Hercules has been discovered during an excavation in the Jezeel Valley in the north of Israel.

The white marble figure stands at 0.5 metres and is thought to have originally decorated an alcove in a Roman bathhouse. It has been dated to the second century AD and is said to be of exceptional quality.

Dr Walid Atrash of the Israel Antiquities Authority said: "This statue is unusual because it is small. Most statues of gods from this period were life-size. This is something special."

The demigod is depicted leaning on a club, draped with the skin of the Nemean lion that he slew in the first of his twelve labours.

The statue was discovered in Hovrat Tarbenet during work on the new Valley Rail line, which will run through the Jezreel Valley connecting the northern port of Haifa with Bet She'an on the Jordan border. Excavations have only recently begun on this site and Dr Atrash believes this may be the first of many archaeological discoveries....


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