Biblical Archaeology Review 34:4, July/August 2008



Interred in the precise manner of human burial, this iron figurine was found near a sacred structure in ancient Vani, a major city of Colchis (present-day Georgia). At 9.5 inches long, the figurine was designed to lie flat, apparently created for the purpose of burial. Like many of Vani’s human inhabitants, this figurine was laid to rest bedecked in ornate jewelry. The figurine’s gold earrings, neck ring and bracelets suggest that it might also have been clothed in rich garments. Although its precise use has never been determined, the evidence points to a ritual, funerary function.

The figurine’s tiny jewelry, which is reminiscent of crafts produced in Colchis, helps date the figure to the third century B.C. Ancient Colchis, located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, is best known from Greek mythology as the land where Jason and the Argonauts went in search of the Golden Fleece.

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