A schoolboy has found a 2,500-year-old pottery figurine of a fertility god in a dry riverbed while on a walk with his family in southern Israel.
The miniature statue depicts a woman sporting a scarf and baring her breasts. Experts believe it was used as a lucky charm to increase fertility.
According to the Israeli authorities, it is only the second piece of its kind to be found in the country.
Beersheba resident Zvi Ben-David, 11, spotted the rare piece in a dry riverbed in the south of the country three weeks ago.
His mum, who works as a tour guide, immediately recognised the figurine's significance and got in touch with the Israel Antiquities Authority straight away.
Archaeologist Oren Shmueli and curator Debbie Ben Ami issued a statement saying that the seven-centimetre tall, six-centimetre wide piece was likely forged in a mould.
"It was probably used in the sixth-fifth centuries BCE, at the end of the Iron Age or in the Persian period," they wrote.
"They were common in the home and in everyday life…and apparently served as amulets to ensure protection, good luck and prosperity."
Infant mortality rates were high during this period and, lacking the medical treatments available today, such lucky amulets gave hope.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.