CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists uncovered an 1,800-year-old marble bust in the City of David, just outside Jerusalem's Old City walls.
"The high level of finish on the figurine is extraordinary, while meticulously adhering to the tiniest of details," the excavations joint directors Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets stated in a press release.
"Its short, curly beard, as well as the position of its head, which is slightly inclined to the right, are indicative of an obviously Greek influence and show that it should be dated to the time of the emperor Hadrian or shortly thereafter [second or third century AD]," they said.
Archaeologists said the tiny figurine may have been used by the Roman occupiers as a weight for a hanging scale.
It is the first such find in Israel.
"To the best of our knowledge, to date no similar artifact made of marble [or any other kind of stone] bearing the same image that was just found has been discovered in excavations elsewhere in the country. It seems that what we have here is a unique find," they said.
The archaeologists said the figurine probably belonged to a family of Roman merchants who traveled to Israel from somewhere in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
They believe the marble bust was passed down from generation to generation, until sometime in the fourth or fifth century, when it was buried during an earthquake that caused the building they're excavating to collapse.
The same excavation recently yielded a cache of 264 gold coins, discovered by a British volunteer, and an exquisite gold earring, inlaid with pearls.