Photo: Courtesy of Claude Doumet-Serhal

MINIATURE FIGURINE. Standing only 2 inches tall, this figurine of a deity is connected to ancestor worship in the third millennium B.C.E. The figurine was found next to a small bowl—both carved from gypsum—on the floor of a public building at Sidon that had at least ten rooms. The figurine’s head had been broken off intentionally as a way to “kill” it ritually before disposal. Mutilation of the heads and hands of anthropomorphic figurines is a well-known tradition in the ancient Near East, found as early as the third millennium B.C.E., and documented in the Bible.