Hercules statue found in Israel dig

Hercules

Hercules

A unusual statue of a Roman god famed for his strength has been discovered by Israeli excavators

The smooth white marble statue of Hercules, found at a recently opened dig in the Jezreel Valley, is about 50 centimetres tall. It is thought to be from the second century AD.

The northern Israeli site was a Jewish settlement in the third century and arch a eologists expect they will find a number of ancient treasures.

In their latest find, Hercules is depicted with the fruit of the first of his 12 labours, the skin of the Nemean lion.

Historians at the Israel Antiquities Authority said the statue was probably used as a decoration at a Roman bathhouse.

Dr Walid Atrash said it was the small size that made it a particularly special find. "It's unusual," he said. "Most statues of gods from this period were life-size."

    Last updated: 1:05pm, August 16 2011