RemarkableWell, at least a statue of one has been put up on exhibit after 1500 years underground.

The Israel Museum yesterday unveiled a rare marble statue of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, discovered a decade ago in excavations of the ancient city of Beit She’an.

According to curators, the statue is unique because of the original coat of paint that can still be seen on it. The museum hopes the “Beit She’an Venus” will become one of the most famous statues of its kind.

The statue, dated to the second century C.E., was found during the excavation of the eastern bathhouse at Beit She’an by professors Gideon Foerster and Yoram Tzafrir of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.

It is of the type known as Venus pudica, or modest Venus, because of the way the figure’s arms are crossed in an attempt to conceal her breasts and pubic area. Eros appears at her side, in the form of a pudgy child riding a dolphin.

Interesting note in the article is that Bet She’an, which was ruined by an earthquake in 749 C.E., had 40,000 inhabitants in its peak of around 400 C.E. In Hellenistic and Roman times the city was called Scythopolis and was considered an important center.

Today, Bet Shean has around 16,000 inhabitants.

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