Israel discovers 1,000-year-old doll made of bone

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Israeli archaeologists have discovered a bone-made doll dated to about a thousand years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Monday.

The ancient doll was unearthed in excavations conducted at the Usha archaeological site in northern Israel, near the Mediterranean coastal city of Haifa.

Such dolls were popular among all population strata in ancient Israel, beginning with the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate dynasty in the Early Muslim period in the seventh century until the end of the Crusader period in the 13th century, the IAA noted.

Beginning in the eighth century, the produced dolls were simpler than those of the century before, due to opposition from religious bodies to a more detailed appearance, the IAA said.

The doll found in northern Israel was produced during the latter part of the Early Muslim period when in some parts of the country it was already forbidden to make the dolls due to a religious ban on displaying human figures.

Most dolls of this type were made from the leg bones of cows, camels, goats, or sheep. However, it has not been revealed yet which animal the recently found doll was made.

The dolls were used not only as a toy but also as educational tools, preparing girls for their role as mothers in Muslim society, the IAA concluded. 

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