Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/16/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Middle East

The moment a Russian 'terminator' robot end the career of an ISIS general Watch

Image of The Russian terminator robot, shown here during an exercise, is designed for counter-terrorism operations.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Check out this video of Russian forces ending the career of an ISIS leader. Soldiers suppress the occupants of the building before deploying a robot to safely complete the mission. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In a video that captures the moment an ISIS ... continue reading


Biblical storm protects Israel from ISIS Watch

Image of Did this storm protect Israel from ISIS? Some think so.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Did a storm of Biblical proportions protect Israel from ISIS? Some people are saying yes, including an Israeli news outlet following the seemingly miraculous event. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Pictures of a biblical storm are making the rounds in Israel as ... continue reading


'Your bishop is a very smart man' - Hero saves 226 Assyrian Christians from clutches of ISIS' evil Watch

Image of Bishop Mar Afram Athneil freed hundreds of Christian hostages from ISIS forces (Twitter).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On February 23, 2015, ISIS forces fell upon 35 Christian towns at the same time, kidnapping thousands.With no armies, countries or even their own government offering help, an unlikely hero was forced to take matters into his own hands. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


The world shares a sigh of relief as beloved 7-year-old from Aleppo is discovered ALIVE Watch

Image of Bana Alabed's Twitter account went quiet, prompting quiet panic across the internet.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The internet erupted in a blanket of fear after 7-year-old Bana Alabed stopped sending messages on the social media app Twitter on Sunday. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bana Alabed and her mother, Fatemah, opened the Twitter account <a ... continue reading


'This is war' - Trump claims he will meet ISIS' 'Bloody Friday' threat on inauguration day Watch

Image of ISIS threatens holy war on Donald Trumps inauguration date.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Islamic terror group ISIS has announced the launch of a holy war the same day Republican nominee Donald Trump will be stepping into the presidency. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. special forces will remain on high alert as Trump takes his place as the 45th ... continue reading


CHRISTIANS ATTACKED - Extremists destroy buildings and send Christians to hospital in Egypt Watch

Image of Christians continue the fight for rights in Egypt.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Christian charity and watchdog group reported Coptic Christians in Egypt have become the latest victims of radical Islamists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to International Christian Concern (ICC), the village of Manshiet El-Naghamish was attacked by ... continue reading


BIZARRE: Israel unveils jar with curious figure - but what's he thinking about? Watch

Image of What's he thinking about?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An unusual jar has made its debut in Israel. The formerly-shattered clay vessel is topped with a figurine that looks curiously like "The Thinker." LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- "An ancient clay vessel has been presented to the world by the Israeli Antiques ... continue reading


INSIDE THE TERROR: Aleppo airstrike leaves doctors desperate to save trapped children Watch

Image of Airstrikes had hospital staff scrambling to safe babies from incubators (Aljazeera).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Air raids have been conducted in Syria for months but one of the most recent strikes hit a hospital, leaving doctors scrambling to save babies trapped in incubators. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Aljazeera, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights ... continue reading


Divine justice or horrible tragedy? ISIS Cub of the Caliphate accidentally kills his family when suicide vest detonates Watch

Image of ISIS continues to use Cubs of the Caliphate to carry out the less savory jobs.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A teenager recruited by ISIS, said to belong to the "Cubs of the Caliphate," killed his entire family by mistake. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Iraq News, a local source told Alsumaria News that the teen was a Cub of the Caliphate, children raised ... continue reading


TOUGH CLASS: The one class these children take to determine if they live or die Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

As children return home to their villages in northern Iraq, they are expected to take a very important class. How they do in that class will determine if they live or die. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - No class in the world is as serious as the one offered to ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
1 Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
2 over Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh; rouse your valour and come to our ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 17:10-13
10 And the disciples put this question to him, 'Why then do the scribes ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 10th, 2016 Image

Pope Saint Gregory III
December 10: He was just standing there, not doing anything ... Read More