Tal Fastman, a Jerusalem woman spending the holidays with her family at the Kinneret, was wading in the lake’s shallow waters when she noticed something glistening beneath her feet. She took a closer look. It didn’t appear to be another pebble, nor was it a bit of broken glass. She picked it up and rubbed off the mud that had stuck to its bottom. It looked like a chicken. And it looked ancient.

Intrigued, Fastman contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority and handed over her discovery. She was surprised and delighted to learn that it was priceless.

“It seems like the lake’s low water levels facilitated this find,” said the authority’s Yoav Tzur, an archaeologist. “It’s a rare and precious object, that most likely fell off of an ancient ship nearby and ended up here.” The chicken-shaped object, he explained, was most likely used in early Christian funerary rituals. It will now be displayed in a nearby museum for all to observe.

“Ever since I was a young girl I’ve been reading stories about finding ancient relics, and I’ve always been enchanted by the idea,” Fastman said. “I very much hoped that one day I, too, will make some meaningful discovery, and now it happened… It’s a dream come true.”