© Erich Lessing

Prehistoric craftsmen, who carved these ivory figures of a pregnant woman, left, and of a man, right, may have left us clues as to how they themselves looked. Their figurines suggest that these people were lanky, conspicuously long-nosed and probably fair-skinned.

Found in a hoard at Safadi, near Beer-Sheva, the figures date to the Chalcolithic period (about 3300 B.C.), making them among the oldest ivories ever discovered in Israel. The man stands about 13 inches tall and the female figure about four inches. Using a bow-drill, the craftsmen bored holes in the ivory of the woman’s pubic area and the man’s chin. Originally an inlay representing hair filled these holes. Excavators also discovered an ivory workshop at Safadi, complete with a bench and tools.