You would think that 12 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea is the last place to find a dolphin clutching a fish between its jaws.
Hewn from marble, the 2,000-or-so-year-old statuette surfaced during archaeological excavations near Kibbutz Magen, bordering the Gaza Strip, in March of this year.
The discovery of the dolphin statue amid the ruins of a late Byzantine and early Islamic site in the northern Negev was only announced this week by Israel’s Antiquities Authority.
Alexander Fraiberg, head archaeologist with the IAA team, said he believed the sculpture dates to the Roman era, but was incorporated into a later, Byzantine-era paved floor alongside other spolia.
“It’s interesting because the statuette was lying face down, so it was impossible to see its appearance,” he said.