An artifact believed to be used for a depiction of an ancient Egyptian goddess has been discovered at a 2,700-year-old site in Spain.
The ceramic gold-leaf fragment was unearthed this summer by archeologists at the University of Salamanca. It belongs to a group of objects including alongside amulets, painted ceramics, and other motifs with Egyptian and Mediterranean roots, uncovered by experts at the site of Cerro de San Vicente in Spain’s central region.
Researchers believe the inlay fragment is one piece of a larger image of the goddess Hathor, the daughter of Egyptian sun god, Ra, and the mother of Horus, a falcon-headed deity in Egyptian mythology. In ancient Egypt, fragments of this type were commonly laid on flat surfaces to construct images of deities.
The recently discovered piece, measuring at around five centimeters, depicts a lower section of the goddess’s hair. It was found in a three-roomed building located on the site alongside other objects including a shark’s tooth, necklace beads, and a clay fragment. A separate artifact depicting the same goddess was found in 2021 at the site.
Archaeologists have been excavating the Spanish site near the Tormes River for three decades. Researchers leading the dig believe inhabitants of the ancient community intentionally destroyed the residence where the objects were found between 650 and 575 BC, to unknown ends. They also believe it’s possible a foreign official brought the artifacts as gifts or trade items to the residential settlement, which may have been a meeting place business.