Zev Radovan

Blessing of the fleet. A wider view of the obverse side of the Dor scapula reveals a maritime scene: From left, three men (and a portion of a fourth) on a boat, either passengers or oarsmen, face left; a bearded figure wearing an Egyptian-style headdress looms above them to the right. Probably the captain, the larger figure faces the priestess and, in a typical Egyptian expression of blessing or devotion, he raises his hand to his forehead. The priestess holds a libation bowl and seems to stand before a doorway, perhaps the harbor’s gate or the gate to a temple in the harbor area. To the right of the priestess, a man raises his right hand before a sacred “tree of life,” a motif common in Phoenician art in the eighth to sixth centuries B.C.E.

The excavators believe the scapula was first etched with the maritime scene by Phoenicians, perhaps on Cyprus or at Dor, in about the seventh or early sixth century B.C.E. Cypriote Greeks then added the votive inscription on the reverse side in about 400 B.C.E. after having brought the scapula to a temple at Dor.