Tree of Life Goddess | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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Tree of Life Goddess

Special exhibit

  • Curator: Ahiad Ovadia
  • Prehistory Gallery of the Archaeology Wing

This 7,500 year-old goddess figurine from Neve Yam is among the world’s earliest evidence for established religion, the origins of which date back to the agricultural revolution, around 10,000 years ago. It is similar to contemporaneous figurines, especially the one discovered at Hagosherim, some 100 km away. The striking resemblance between the two objects indicates that the cult of the goddess was widespread by this time. In later periods, the combination of a plant motif (the Tree of Life) with the image of a woman (the goddess) became a common image throughout the Ancient Near East, where it represented the goddess Asherah.

Figurine of a goddess decorated with palm fronds or stalks of grain
Neve Yam, Wadi Rabah culture, Late Neolithic Period, 7,500 years ago, incised bone
Collection of Israel Antiquities Aurhority, Photo: Laura  Lachman, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Figurine of a goddess decorated with palm fronds or stalks of grain
Neve Yam, Wadi Rabah culture, Late Neolithic Period, 7,500 years ago, incised bone
Collection of Israel Antiquities Aurhority, Drawing: Ester Stark