Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/16/2014 (11 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 (11 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Middle East

Destroying culture: New Islamic State video shows priceless statues beheaded Watch

Image of The five-minute video shows men going at statue after statue, knocking them to the ground and destroying them with sledgehammers and jackhammers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In another atrocity perpetrated against world history and culture, members of Islamic State are shown destroying priceless works of art in a museum in Mosul, Iraq. Some statues are beheaded in the manner of IS' squirming victims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS' leading man, the masked Jihadi John's true identity revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The man behind the mask in brutal ISIS execution videos, known as Jihadi John, is assumed to be a British man named Mohammed Emwazi. Jihadi John appears in the beheading videos of American hostages, James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britan hostages, Alan Henning and ... continue reading


Islamic State butchers 15 captured Christians, calls for Muslims to watch murder of 350 more Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters captured almost 400 Syrian Christians, and are reported to have executed 15.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New reports from Syria reveal that the Islamic State may have murdered 15 of the more than 300 Christians it had captured earlier this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Catholic humanitarian group, Aid to the Church in Need, issued a report that the 15 of ... continue reading


Saudi Arabian man sentenced to death after rebelliously tearing up copy of Koran Watch

Image of Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC in protest against the 10-year prison sentence given to a blogger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia has long been a friend to the United States and its allies, a very important hedge against militant Islamist groups and nations in the Middle East. This alignment does have limits - Western diplomats are expected to address the kingdom's many human ... continue reading


ISIS kidnaps 90 Christians from Assyrian villages Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has kidnapped at least 90 Christians - mainly women and children - from their homes after launching dawn raids on Assyrian villages. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ISIS fighters bust past a few men guarding the village of Tal Shamiram around 4 a.m. (9 ... continue reading


TRAPPED FOREVER: A first hand account on the horrific daily life in ISIS' terror captial, Raqqa Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forced blood donations, daily executions, airstrikes and forced marriages are just a few things those stuck in ISIS' capital city, Raqqa experience. Getting in with ISIS is not the hard part; getting out alive is impossible. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abu ... continue reading


Young Iraqi Christian's unexpected plans for ISIS will leave you stunned Watch

Image of Young Persecuted Christian's remain in good spirit despite losing everything.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Every day a Christian is persecuted or murdered at the hands of ISIS. Every day someone is forced to run from their homes in Iraq or Syria. It doesn't matter if it is a child or an adult; ISIS doesn't care. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Being uprooted and forced ... continue reading


'Coming to a mall near you' Islamic State threatens shopping malls and other public places around the world Watch

Image of Groups swearing fealty to the Islamic State have sprung up in North Africa and other Middle Eastern nations.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State is not a problem for Syria, Iraq or their neighbors. Its reach has spread, with affiliated groups popping up in northern Africa and lone wolves operating on its behalf in Europe and North America, and it now poses a massive threat to the West. ... continue reading


CHILLING VIDEO surfaces of children being indoctrinated into Islamic State's World of Hate Watch

Image of The nine-minute video posted online depicts camouflage-clad boys standing in formation and obeying the commands of a militant teacher.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In yet another shocking video, Islamic State has now released yet another propaganda video showing boys as young as five being indoctrinated at military-style training camp for "cubs." Seen as a "public reaction" ploy by the terror group, children are shown ... continue reading


Women's rights in Islam - Baghdad's first female mayor arrives during corruption, violence Watch

Image of Dr. Zekra Alwach's appointment is a breakthrough for gender equality in Iraq, where rights groups say discrimination and violence against women is widespread.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dr. Zekra Alwach has been named as the mayor of Baghdad. Alwach has become the first woman in Iraqi history to attain such a position - and she comes at a time of chaos, corruption and violence holds sway in her nation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... 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, Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
12 The king said to Queen Esther, 'In the citadel of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 7-8
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 7:7-12
7 'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 26th, 2015 Image

St. Isabel of France
February 26: Sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France ... 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