Greek-Era Bronze Mask Unearthed on Golan
Israeli archeologists says mask, larger than human head, is 2,000 years old
Israeli archeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old bronze mask of the Greek god Pan. The mask was unearthed at the Susita national park on the Golan Heights, east of the Sea of Galilee.
Pan was the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, hunting, and rustic music, and companion of the nymphs.
“The ritual feasts honoring the gods of the shepherds and the fields were often conducted in nature, and they included drinking ceremonies, sacrifices and ecstatic rituals with nudity and sex,” says Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the archeological team from Haifa University who has been heading the dig in recent years.
The mask was created between the first century BC and the first or second centuries AD, an excited Eisenberg told the Ynet web site shortly after pulling the artifact out of the ground. “Masks of this size, bigger than a human head, are extremely rare and usually don’t depict Pan nor any of the other Greek or Roman mythological figures. Most of the bronze masks known from the Greek and Roman periods were tiny.”
Eisenberg said he had contacted curators at large museums in the world and they told him they did not known of bronze masks of the kind he had found.
Two years ago a basalt grave stone was discovered at the site on which the head and torso of the deceased was carved. Two years prior to that, winter rains unearthed a statue of Hercules.
Susita – as it is known in the Aramaic version – was originally known by the Latin name Hippos. Both names refer to horses, although the reason for this name is not known. It was destroyed by the earthquake of 749 CE.