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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:3, Summer 2020

Strata: The Thinker from Yehud

Millennia later, and still thinking … Sitting atop a ceramic jug in silent reflection, this figurine has been known as the “Thinker from Yehud.” It was discovered in 2016 during salvage excavations in the Israeli city of Yehud just north of Ben Gurion Airport, some 8 miles east of Tel Aviv. Coming from a Middle Bronze Age II (c. 1800–1600 B.C.E.) tomb, where it was accompanied by three daggers, two spearheads, an axe head, and a knife, it belonged to the funerary equipment of a warrior. In the same tomb, archaeologists also found two male sheep and a donkey, apparently buried as offerings.

Following its widely reported discovery, the broken jug had to be stabilized and restored. It is now finally on display in the Canaanite Galleries of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The vessel is 7 inches tall, with a round, swollen body and a long neck constituting the figurine’s upper body: The spout runs through the “thinker’s” torso and ends with a round rim, which is the figure’s hat. As if deep in thought, the man rests his head on the right hand while his left arm is placed across the right knee.

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