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Ancient Medusa Statue Found in Syria

November 24, 2001

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ Syrian archeologists have unearthed a stone statue base decorated with a rare carving of the snake-haired Medusa, an official said Saturday.

The 2nd century carving shows an almond-eyed version of the mythological Greek figure with hair flowing down her neck and over her temples, said Khaled Assad, director of Palmyra Archaeological Department.

Archaeologists found the carving 15 feet below the surface of the foundations of the palace of Zenobia, a queen of Palmyra known for her war against the Romans, who defeated and captured her in 272.

Ancient Palmyrans are believed to have displayed images of Medusa, one of the three mythological Gorgon sisters, on buildings to ward off evil.

Assad said an olive branch, a symbol of peace, was drawn on both sides of the statue base. The Medusa carving measures 10 inches by 10 inches.

Palmyra is 150 miles northeast of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

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