The 9,000-9,500 year old figurines were found near a large circular structure built from rocks and mud bricks. The dig was conducted in light of the National Roads Authority's plan to renew Highway 1 from Sha'ar HaGai to Jerusalem.
The first figurine, made of limestone and measuring 15 cm depicts a ram with winding horns. The craftsmanship is extraordinary; the animal's organs are in accurate proportion.
The second figurine, more abstract in appearance is from Dolomite stone and seems to portray a large animal with horns. The horns emerge sideways from the center of the head resembling wild cattle or Buffalo.
(Photo: Yael Yolovitz, Israel Antiquities Authority)
According to the dig's managers Dr Anna Einriech and Dr Hamoudi Chalialli of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Second Pre-Ceramic Neolithic Period (around the 8th millennium B.C.) is one of the most fascinating in the history of mankind including groundbreaking shifts in the course of civilization.
"This era marked the change from a nomadic hunter- gatherer lifestyle to a life based on permanent dwellings, agriculture and grazing.
Several digs in the area point to a planned architecture of houses. There were also major breakthroughs in the domestication of animals and plants," say the site managers
They claim the figurines are evidence of the religious beliefs and rituals of the Neolithic Era. Dr Chalialli says the figurines may have been part of a hunting ritual conducted to ensure the success of the hunt.
According to Dr Einrich, the figurines may actually be connected to cattle domestication.