Bronze Mask of Pan Discovered Near Sea of Galilee

University of Haifa archaeologist with the bronze mask of Pan. Image credit: Michael Eisenberg.

Archaeologist hold the almost larger-than-life bronze mask of the god Pan. (Image Credit: Michael Eisenberg)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

At the historic Greco-Roman site Hippos-Sussita, archaeologists were on an unusual winter dig (most excavations take place in the summer) were looking for coins to date recent finds at the site.  What they found was much bigger than a coin.

They uncovered a human-sized bronze mask of Pan, the half-human, half-goat god of shepherds and friend of the various nymphs in Greek mythology. At first the researchers weren’t sure who the mask depicted until they uncovered a pair of small forehead horn and a goat-like beard characteristic of the Greek god. Though Hippos-Sussita is located on a rise above the Sea of Galilee, the city Banyan, slightly north of the dig site, contained a famously known temple to the god Pan who main altar was inside a cave. The researchers postulate that the heavy-mask may have been associated with a roadside altar affiliated with the cave-temple.

Decapolis Region Map

Hippos-Sussita was one of ten cities that comprise the Decopolis – a region of predominantly Greek culture. (Image Credit: Hippos-Sussita Excavation Project.)

The archaeological group responsible for the discovery is affiliated with the University of Haifa.

Read more at Sci-News.

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