Heavy storms uncover Roman statue in Israel

20:59, December 15, 2010      

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A well-preserved 1.2-meter high, 200-kg Roman-era marble statue was uncovered by the 10-meter waves slamming into a crumbling seafront cliff near the southern city of Ashkelon a few days ago, an archaeologist said Wednesday.

"It is a lovely white statue that is missing its head and part of a hand. It was apparently imported from Italy, Greece or Asia Minor, and may have represented the goddess Aphrodite," archaeologist Yigal Israel of the Israel Antiquities Authority ( IAA) told Xinhua Wednesday.

The waves damaged several other archaeological areas along the coastline, Israel said, as well as businesses along the Tel Aviv and Caesaria shore.

"The woman depicted in the statue is wearing a toga and leaning on a square stone column," Israel said, "her clothing was chiseled meticulously, her toes are delicate, we see her sandals and her small emphasized bosom. Simply a stunningly beautiful statue," Israel said.

The head and hands are missing, the archaeologist said, but he believes it has been in that condition since Roman times, between 1,600 and 1,800 years ago.

"We rescued the statue from the sea waves lapping at it," Israel told the Ha'aretz newspaper.

The statue will later be displayed in museums, according to the IAA.
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