Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Storm in Israel reveals ancient statue

A huge storm that misshapen part of a cliff on Israel's central coast led to the discovery of a statue dating back to the Roman period, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.

The white marble statue of a woman wearing a toga and sandals is estimated to be 2,000 years old. It stands 1.2 meters tall, weighs about 200 kilograms and was found with no head or arms, according to news let go by the authority.

A person on foot on the shore at Ashkelon on the coast west of Jerusalem made the discovery, the authority said.

"The statue fell into the sea when the ancient maritime precipice collapsed as a result of the storm," said Yigal Israel, the Ashkelon district archaeologist. "The collapse also bankrupt a bath house and mosaics that had been in the cliff for many hundreds of years."

The storm, one of the strongest Israel has experienced in recent years, brought winds of more than 100 kph that sent 10-meter waves deafening into Israel's coast.