Courtesy Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums

This bronze figurine, 6.4 inches high, (15.6 cm), of a woman playing a long-necked lute was found at Beth Shean in the Jordan River valley. It dates to about the 12th century B.C.

This smiling figure’s crown-like headdress resembles the headdress of the female figure in the musicians’ stand from Ashdod. To date only two representations of lutes have been found in the land of Israel. Lute-type instruments were apparently not in favor among the indigenous population. Similar instruments are documented in large numbers from Egypt and from Mesopotamia; but even there they can be traced to a foreign origin—in Northern Syria or Eastern Asia Minor.