Rare Syrian Basalt Altar, Chalcolithic Period, Circa 4th Millennium BCE.
A carved basalt stone altar of a graceful, waisted cylindrical form, also referred to as a pillar image, the top recessed to create a shallow basin, one side with an anthropomorphic visage with a large beaked nose, small protruding round eyes, and flanking lugs for ears. This is an extremely rare piece that was probably used as a home altar.
Altars of this type have been found in and around the Golan region of western Syria and eastern Israel, and appear to be carved from local basalt. It has been suggested that these altars represent household gods. In the Chalcolithic period a nose was often added to non-anthropomorphic cultic objects, suggesting that the nose was identified as being connected to the breath of life, and therefore able to imbue an object with anthropomorphic qualities.