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4,500-year-old Canaanite statuette of warrior goddess found in Gaza

A Palestinian farmer discovered a stone sculpture over 4,500 years old in the southern Gaza Strip

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the 22-centimeter (6.7-inch) tall limestone head was found while the farmer was working his land in Khan Yunis, and is believed to be dated to around 2,500 BC.

"The statue represents the Canaanite goddess, Anat," Jamal Abu Reda, in charge of antiquities at the ministry, said in a statement.

Anat, one of the best-known Canaanite deities, was the goddess of love and war.

It was uncovered on what was an important "overland trade route for several civilisations" that lived in what is now the Gaza Strip, according to Abu Reda.

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Gaza is rich with antiquities, having been an important trading spot for many civilisations, from as far back as the ancient Egyptians and the Philistines depicted in the Bible, through the Roman Empire and the Crusades.

Ruins discovered there include the remains of a siege by Alexander the Great as well as a Mongol invasion.

Earlier this year, a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery containing at least 20 ornately decorated graves had been uncovered near the shoreline in the northern Gaza Strip.

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