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Mysterious Byzantine statuette to go on display

An ancient bronze statuette unearthed more than 200 years ago is being exhibited for the first time at Heritage Malta's office in Victoria.

Discovered in Għajnsielem in 1771, the statuette is important because it belonged to an obscure period in the islands' history.

Heritage Malta said it probably belonged to the Byzantine Period but the exact place where it was found and under what circumstances remained unknown.

The statuette represents a man sitting on a wicker basket with raised arms, one holding a bowl and the other the feet of another figure which was broken off over time.

An interesting feature is a number of curious symbols which have been interpreted as religious Gnostic symbols.

The Gnostics were a popular religious and philosophical movement in the Roman world of the second and third centuries.

The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. until July 10. Entrance is free.

Once the exhibition is over, the statuette will be placed with the permanent collection on display at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology.

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