Possible ceramic goddesses heads found at ancient waste dump

Archaeologists have uncovered at least four 2400-years-old female heads made out of ceramic, at an ancient waste dump within the ancient town of Porphyreon, located in modern-day Jiyeh, Lebanon.

Remains of ceramic female heads from Porphyreon (by Adam Olesiak & The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology Archive)

The artefacts were discovered by archaeologists of the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology within a waste dump containing also bits of pottery, burnt animal bones, and the remains of grapes, olives and chickpeas. Broken parts of the heads were discovered in 2013 and have only recently been pieced into at least four separate heads. The best-preserved specimen measures about 24 centimetres in height and is 15 centimetres wide. It’s decorated with red paint and includes a depiction of a very specific headdress worn by Greek women. called a “stephane”. One of the other ceramic heads has similar dimensions. Only small portions of the other two ceramic heads have survived. The four female ceramic heads have a mix of Greek and Phoenician traits, as well as elements of Egyptian origin – one of the heads has a depiction of a Wadjet amulet on its breast, usually used by ancient Egyptians.

Remains of ceramic female heads from Porphyreon (by Adam Olesiak & The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology Archive)

According to archaeologists, three small holes were found near the top of the well-preserved head indicating that the artefacts were likely hung on a wall. Fingerprints, which may be those of the artist who made the head, are visible on its surface. Experts state that the heads were likely discarded when the walls on which they were hanging were redecorated or reconstructed.

(after Live Science, Adam Olesiak & The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology Archive)

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