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Biblical Archaeology Review 9:5, September/October 1983

Bronze Bull Found in Israelite “High Place” from the Time of the Judges

By Amihai Mazar

When he found it, Ofer Broshi was on army duty. Army life can be exhausting or boring—or sometimes both. At that moment, Broshi, a rugged young kibbutznik, was more bored than tired. He was resting on the summit of a hill in northern Samaria, above the ancient road connecting the Biblical towns of Dothan and Tirzah.

He looked aimlessly at the ground. Then suddenly he saw something staring back at him from beneath the soil. It was obviously not alive. He reached to see what it was, brushing away the dirt that partially covered it. He was startled to discover that the eyes he had seen belonged to a beautiful bronze figurine of a young bull, which he soon held in his hand, turning it every which way in disbelief.

Broshi brought the figurine back with him to his kibbutz. Almost every kibbutz has at least one amateur archaeologist and Kibbutz Shamir of which Broshi is a member was no exception. There kibbutznik and amateur archaeologist Moshe Kagan arranged to have the bull displayed in the kibbutz antiquities collection.

It was there that I first saw it. I immediately recognized its importance and promptly notified the Department of Antiquities. Negotiations between the kibbutz and the Department resulted in the transfer of the bull to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for study. It is now displayed there in a special showcase. (In exchange, the Department of Antiquities donated various other artifacts of less importance to the kibbutz collection of antiquities.)

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