Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/16/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In spite of fierce civil war, some areas remain untouched

One of the biggest losses brought upon by the Syrian civil war, now in its fourth year, is the loss of priceless archaeological sites. Many of these sites have been looted or bombed since the war's onset, but there are notable exceptions. One of the most exciting finds has been a 9,000-year-old wand with two faces carved into it.

The wand was first uncovered during excavations in 2007 and 2009 at a site in southern Syria called Tell Qarassa. An artificial mound made from the debris of everyday human life had gradually built up in layers over millennia.

The wand was first uncovered during excavations in 2007 and 2009 at a site in southern Syria called Tell Qarassa. An artificial mound made from the debris of everyday human life had gradually built up in layers over millennia.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/16/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, wand, funerary ritual


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The artifact was discovered near a graveyard where about 30 people were buried without their heads, found in a nearby living space.

"The find is very unusual. It's unique," study co-author Frank Braemer, an archaeologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France.

WISH POPE FRANCIS A HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Probably used in a long-lost funeral ritual, the wand is one of the only naturalistic depictions of human faces from this time and place, Braemer says.

The wand was first uncovered during excavations in 2007 and 2009 at a site in southern Syria called Tell Qarassa. An artificial mound made from the debris of everyday human life had gradually built up in layers over millennia.

Further archaeological evidence from the site suggests the ancient inhabitants were amongst the world's first farmers. There was evidence of the consumption of emmer, which is a type of wheat, barley, chickpeas and lentils, and herding or hunting goats, gazelles, pigs and deer.

As noted in the March issue of the journal Antiquity, after the skeletons and wand were buried, someone seems to have dug up and removed the skulls, placing them in the inhabited portion of the settlement.

The wand was probably carved from the rib of an auroch, the wild ancestor of cows, and was about 4.7 inches long. Two natural-looking faces, with eyes closed, were carved into the bone. The wand was intentionally broken at both ends, with more faces likely originally adorning the staff.

The item's purpose and symbolism remains shrouded in mystery. "It's clearly linked to funerary rituals, but what kind of rituals, it's impossible to tell," Braemer says.

Older artifacts typically showed stylized or schematic representations of humans, but realistic depictions of animals. Art unearthed in areas that are now Jordan and Anatolia from the same time period uses natural representations of the human form, suggesting this trend emerged simultaneously in regions throughout the Middle East, Braemer said.

The artistic innovation may have been tied to the emerging desire to create material representations of identity and personhood, the authors say.

However -- why someone dug up the skulls and placed them within the living areas of the settlement is also unclear. Archaeologists unearthed similar finds in Jericho, Israel, also dating to around 9,000 years ago, where the skulls of ancestors were covered with plaster and painted with facial features, then displayed in living spaces.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Middle East

War in all but name: Hezbollah rocket attack kills two Israeli soldiers, Israel responds with attacks of its own Watch

Image of Hezbollah launched a rocket attack on an Israeli military convoy which left seven injured and two dead.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Iranian-backed terrorist group that holds major political clout in Lebanon, Hezbollah, may have just fired the first shots of a war with Israel, which could plunge a delicately balanced region into all-out war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On January ... continue reading


'We will reach America!' ISIS threatens to behead Obama in an execution video (Warning: Graphic Content)

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America," states a black-clad ISIS militant in ISIS' latest beheading video. "Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This video, ... continue reading


Looking for any chance to execute non-Muslims, Islamic State makes new demands of Japan for release of one hostage Watch

Image of Kenji Goto appears to be still alive, for the time being, though if Japan does not secure the release of Sajida al-Rishawi from Jordan, he too will likely be executed.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has apparently killed one of the two Japanese men that it held hostage, releasing an image of what appears to be the decapitated body of one of the two men, and saying that it had killed one of its hostages after Japan failed to pay $200 million ... continue reading


Crucial U.S. ally against terrorism, Yemen's President resigns Watch

Image of Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable. The resignations came a day after the government and Houthi rebels struck a peace deal meant to end days of ... continue reading


Airstrikes have killed 6,000 Islamic State militants, but signs suggest this won't save Iraq Watch

Image of The Islamic State has been hurt by U.S. airstrikes, but it may not be enough to save Iraq.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The American-led coalition that has been engaged in an ongoing campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State through much of 2014 has taken a "devastating" toll on the terrorist group, and a U.S. official recently releasing figures for the number of terrorists ... continue reading


Saudia Arabia's King Abdullah has died Watch

Image of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After suffering from pneumonia and being admitted to the hospital, King Abdullah passed away at 90-years-old.He became King in August 2005, but had been in charge of ... continue reading


Do not appease Iran! Democrat, Republican and Israeli leadership warn Obama about the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before Congress on February 11 about the dangers that a nuclear armed Iran poses to the United States, Israel and the West.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel is set to come to the United States in February and give a speech before Congress about the dangerous issue of Iran. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Netanyahu has already been quite vocal in raising his concerns ... continue reading


Iran, Hezbollah plan 'imminent' joint invasion of Israel's northern Galilee region Watch

Image of Hezbollah said that Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of a prominent commander, and Mohammed Issa, funeral shown here, was responsible for the group's operations in Syria and Iraq and died alongside Tabatabai.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli security sources claim that senior Iranian and Hezbollah figures killed in an airstrike in Syria this weekend were likely planning an "imminent" attack on Israel. Six Iranian army chiefs died alongside five Hezbollah militants when an Israeli helicopter ... continue reading


Yemeni president loses control as Shiite rebels storm the presidential palace Watch

Image of Shiite Houthi rebels have stormed the Yemeni presidential palace, and the Yemeni Minster of Information has declared that the president of Yemen has lost all control.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemen may next on the list of Middle Eastern countries whose leadership has changed, following the capture of the presidential palace in Sanna, by a group of Shitte Houthi rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack took place on January 20, and led to ... continue reading


'This knife will become your nightmare' ISIS demands $200 million in new hostage video (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of A man dressed in all black, with British accent, threatens the lives of two Japanese men in newest ISIS video.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two Japanese men are held hostage in the Islamic State's (ISIS) latest act of extremism. ISIS released a video demanding $200 million or the two hostages would be killed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa are featured in the video in ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter