Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/16/2014 (7 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 (7 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 October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Middle East

30 tribesmen in western Iraq executed by Islamic State (WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Image of More than 1,000 heavily-armed tribesmen and some troops left the town in around 500 vehicles to take refuge in the nearby town of Barwana.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 30 tribesmen were executed by Islamic State in western Iraq this week. In the meantime, government forces are continuing their offensive against the extremist militants across the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Islamic State captured ... continue reading


Muslims criticize the Islamic State for perverting Islam Watch

Image of Fighters from the Islamic State watch over captured Syrian soldiers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new voice in the international community is speaking out against the Islamic State; over 100 Muslim leaders have signed a 17-page letter that criticizes and condemns the terrorist state, their actions in Iraq and Syria, and their interpretation of the Quran and ... continue reading


U.S. journalist endured continuous torture before being executed by ISIS Watch

Image of In spite of all of his torture, James Foley would share his limited rations with other captives, and gave up his blanket to somebody else in the depths of winter, other prisoners said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forty-year-old U.S. journalist James Foley suffered torture at the hands of his ISIS captors before they killed him. Captured in 2012 and executed in 2014, his torments included waterboarding, virtual starvation and being hung upside-down by his ankles. LOS ... continue reading


Into the wrong hands: ISIS fighters seize weapons from U.S. airdrop Watch

Image of The incident was more of an embarrassment than a strategic loss. ISIL fighters already possess millions of dollars' worth of U.S. weaponry that they captured from fleeing Iraqi soldiers when the group seized swaths of Iraq in June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State fighters are believed to have seized at least one cache of weapons airdropped by the U.S. The payload reportedly missed besieged Kurdish militias defending the Syrian border town of Kobane. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Yesterday we announced ... continue reading


HORRIFIC video shows Islamic State stoning Yazidi woman - by group of men, including HER father Watch

Image of In a related incident, a man was executed in Idlib province in an area controlled by Islamist groups including the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A sickening video of a young woman being stoned to death by a group of men, which includes her own father, has been released by Islamic State. The video is believed to have been filmed in the city of Hama. The clip shows a bearded cleric ranting at the woman in ... continue reading


Yazidi woman 'I've been raped 30 times and it's not even lunchtime!' Watch

Image of A Yazidi woman over the telephone that she had been raped so frequently that she could no longer use the toilet. She says that her despair is so great she will commit suicide - even if she is freed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A young Yazidi woman held captive by the Islamic State for repeated sexual abuse says that she was raped 30 times in just a few hours. Kept prisoner, she now begs the West to bomb the brothel where she is being held. It's believed that she's being kept prisoner ... continue reading


Islamic State has infiltrated INSIDE of Turkey with attempt to kidnap Syrian leader Watch

Image of Militants have recently shot and wounded a senior Syrian rebel commander within the nation. The incident has raised questions of Ankara's commitment to defeating the terror group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Islamic State fighters batter the Syrian city of Kobani near the border with Turkey, ISIS agents are apparently now currently operating within the nation of Turkey. Militants have recently shot and wounded a senior Syrian rebel commander within the ... continue reading


Jack 'the acid' Ripper: Suspects arrested in connection with acid attacks against women in Iran Watch

Image of Though the attacks have instilled fear in some women in the city, many continue to live their lives without apologies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Iranian authorities have arrested a number of people suspected of throwing acid at women. Its' believed that the women were wearing their traditional Islamic head covering improperly. The public had grown increasingly angry over the series of attacks in the ... continue reading


Sectarian violence spreads in Yemen, where Shi'ite militia square off against al-Qaeda Watch

Image of A member of the Shi'ite military Houthi organization.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni city was taken by al Qaeda fighters, and 33 people were killed by a suicide bombing and gun fighting during the group's challenge to the Yemeni government. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This is just the latest bout of violence that has erupted in ... continue reading


Al Qaeda launches 'magazine war' with Islamic State in effort to attract new recruits Watch

Image of Resurgence, the new magazine for Al Qaeda.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Al Qaeda is attempting to make a comeback in the public eye following the stunning rise of the competing Islamic State. In an online publication, aimed at a global audience, the terror group is encouraging attacks at economic infrastructure. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... 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, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... 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