BAR 21:01, Jan/Feb 1995
Excavation Opportunities 1995
Prize Find: An Iron Age Amulet from the Galilee
Excavating at Bethsaida, just north of the Sea of Galilee, we uncovered an extremely beautiful and rare find last summera small statuette of the Egyptian god Pataekos, a protective deity. Although images of Pataekos are not uncommon finds on archaeological digs, the delicate rendering of the Bethsaida statuette makes it highly unusual.
The 2.4-inch figurine depicts Pataekos as a male dwarf with a large head, protruding ears, bulbous abdomen, deep navel and fat, curved legs. He wears a tightly fitting cap and an elaborate beaded necklace and carries two knives or short swords. The figurine probably once stood on a crocodile, as Pataekos often appears, but a sharp cut removed the back of the statuette, its left arm and leg, and its original base. Sculpted of argilite, a stone composed primarily of compacted clay, the figurine was once coated with a turquoise Egyptian glaze called faience. (Traces of the glaze appear on the statues neck, arm and upper leg.)