The ancient Egyptians very early used metal to create statues, the oldest evidence of which dates back to the 2nd Dynasty, about 2730 B.C.E. However, it was during the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period that the art truly blossomed, due to expertise in bronze – a more malleable and less porous alloy than copper, and therefore easier to cast. It is assumed that increasing contact with the countries in Asia that excelled in the working of metals enabled techniques to be improved. The Ptolemaic period was characterized by the mass production of votive statuettes such as this Neith, a major goddess in the Egyptian pantheon since the early dynasties, since it was she who created the universe on her loom; she was somewhat overlooked subsequently, but would regain her prominence in the Late Period’s 26th Dynasty. The Greeks likened her to Athena.