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12,000-Year-Old Nafutian Female Shaman's Grave Loaded With 'Goodies"

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Bianca
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« on: May 28, 2009, 08:55:10 am »







The grave of an elderly woman buried about 12,000 years ago included a plethora of animal remains,

adding one piece of evidence she was indeed a shaman who possibly used animal spirits to communicate

with the spirit world


(depicted in this artistic reconstruction of the grave).
Credit: P. Groszman.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 08:59:03 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 08:59:29 am »







                                           Female Shaman's Grave Loaded with Goodies






By Jeanna Bryner,
Senior Writer
Live Science
3 November 2008

A 12,000-year-old burial site in Israel contains offerings that include 50 tortoise shells and a human foot, and appears to be one of the earliest known graves of a female shaman.

The remains were discovered in a small cave called Hilazon Tachtit, which functioned as a burial site for at least 28 individuals. The grave woman, likely a shaman, was separated from the other bodies by a circular wall of stones.

Other grave goodies buried within that wall included tail vertebrae from an extinct type of cattle called an auroch, skulls from two stone martens (members of the weasel family), bony wing parts from a golden eagle, the forearm of a wild boar and a nearly complete pelvis from a leopard.

"What was unusual here was there were so many different parts of different animals that were unusual, that were clearly put there on purpose," said researcher Natalie Munro, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Connecticut.

Great pains were likely taken long ago to collect the animal remains for the grave, not to mention the long trek that must have been made from the closest domestic site at the time, about 6 miles (10 km) away, say the researchers.

This care along with the animal parts point to the grave belonging to both an important member of the society and possibly a healer called a shaman, the researchers conclude in their research published this week by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Such healers mediate between the human and spirit worlds, often summoning the help of animal spirits along their quests, according to the researchers.
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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2009, 09:03:01 am »







The shaman was buried in so-called Structure A, while other bodies were buried within the three burial

pits within the cave in Israel.

(Inset shows the region excavated by the archaeologists.)



Credit: N. Hilger.
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Bianca
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2009, 09:06:25 am »









Life was tough



The woman was about 45 years old when she died and based on measurements of the skull and long bone, she stood at about 4.9 feet (1.5 meters). Wearing of her teeth and other aging signs on the bones suggested the woman was relatively old for her time. And she likely had a limp or dragged her foot, the researchers speculate, due to the fusion of the coccyx and sacrum along with deformations of the pelvis and lower vertebrae.

The human foot lying alongside the body came from an adult individual who was much larger than the women.

"What's interesting is it's only the foot," Munro told LiveScience. "She hasn't been disturbed, but a part of another human body was definitely put into the grave. It could be related to the fact they were moving body parts around sometimes, but we don't know why."

At least 10 large stones had been placed on the head, pelvis and arms of the buried individual, which the researchers suggest helped to protect the body and keep it in a specific position, or possibly to hold the body in its grave.

Scattered around the body and beneath it were tortoise shells. Before arranging the shells inside the grave during the burial ritual, humans cracked open the tortoise shells along the reptiles' bellies (so as not to crack the back part of the shell) and sucked out the meat, possibly for food.

"So they took the insides out by breaking the belly, but they left the back intact and that was probably meaningful," Munro said.
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Bianca
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2009, 09:07:31 am »



Nafutian Huts









Rituals begin



The woman was part of the Natufian culture, a group of hunter-gatherers who lived from 15,000 to about 11,500 years ago in the area that now includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The finding is particularly interesting since the Natufians were on the verge of becoming a more sedentary, farming society.

Finding an early shaman grave during this transition makes sense, Munro said.

"With the beginning of agriculture we seem to see an intensified ritual behavior," Munro said. "When things change dramatically, people tend to try to reestablish the legitimate order of things by using ritual and religion to deal with change."

She added, "These people are starting to live in more permanent communities; they're in more contact with one another from day to day. It's not surprising that we start to see evidence for those ritualized behaviors at this point in time."
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2009, 09:08:32 am »

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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2009, 09:09:40 am »


             

              CAVE GRAVES

              Israel's Hilazon Tachtit cave contains
              the grave, bottom left, of a 12,000-
              year-old Natufian woman identified as
              a shaman in a new study









                                                           An ancient healer reborn






By Bruce Bower
Science News
Web edition :
November 3rd, 2008 

Excavations in Israel reveal one of the oldest known graves of a shaman, from 12,000 years ago.

The graves of people who died 12,000 ago rarely contain a woman’s skeleton pinned down in an unusual position by large stones, accompanied by a menagerie of animal remains and another person’s foot. Yet, that’s what archaeologist Leore Grosman of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her coworkers recently discovered in a small Israeli cave called Hilazon Tachtit.

Closer analysis shows that this grave holds a shaman, one of the earliest ever excavated, the researchers report in an upcoming Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In traditional societies, shamans are thought to communicate between the human and the spirit worlds. These specially designated individuals are considered to possess spiritual, magical and healing powers. Shamans are typically buried in elaborate ways that mark their privileged status and destination for a special afterlife.

“There is no doubt that this woman had a special social position, and the most viable interpretation of this burial
is that it was for a shaman,” Grosman says. "The grave offers some of the earliest physical evidence of religious and spiritual belief", she adds.

Her team uncovered the woman’s burial in 2005 and 2006, amid individual and group graves of at least 27 other people in a cemetery that belonged to a prehistoric Natufian settlement. The Natufian culture, which lasted from roughly 15,000 to 11,500 years ago, played a central role in the transition from foraging to farming and was the first known society to live in year-round settlements. Burials of the dead increased dramatically in number among the Natufians, indicating that these people assigned much symbolic importance to treatment of the dead.

An earlier radiocarbon study of finds at Hilazon Tachtit concluded that activity had occurred there between 12,400 and 12,000 years ago. That stretch of time was marked by a cold, dry climate in the region and relatively small, dispersed Natufian settlements.

"The most parsimonious explanation of this unique grave treatment for a Natufian person is that this woman was
a shaman,” comments Harvard University archaeologist Ofer Bar-Yosef.

Debby Hershman, curator of prehistoric periods at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, followed Grosman’s excavation with keen interest and plans to display some of the finds in 2010. “The burial of the shaman from Hilazon Tachtit cave is one of the most important discoveries associated with a prehistoric cult,” she says.

Archaeologist Donald Henry of the University of Tulsa suspects that Hershman is right but notes that the Natufian woman may instead have been someone who achieved exceptional status in a culture that was just beginning to develop levels of social prestige and political power.
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Bianca
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2009, 09:11:10 am »

Rebekkah
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    Re: Nafutian Female Shaman's Grave Loaded With "Goodies" - UPDATES
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2008, 03:00:01 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Very interesting finding!  We must wonder what it was like for people in that age, so long ago, that they should collect such things.
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Bianca
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2009, 09:12:11 am »

Rebekkah,


"This care along with the animal parts point to the grave belonging to both an important member of the society and possibly a healer called a shaman, the researchers conclude in their research published this week by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Such healers mediate between the human and spirit worlds, often summoning the help of animal spirits

along their quests, according to the researchers. "


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


IN THE 21ST CENTURY:


I personally use a large bird wing as a fan and an abalone shell in 'smudging'.....


I am told the shofar (SP?) - a ram's horn - is still used by Jews.


A lot of  people still carry a rabbit's foot and other animal parts as good luck charms.  The oddest
I have ever seen I can't mention here....


Times have not really changed, have they?
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Bianca
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2009, 09:13:15 am »



This undated file photo released by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008 shows the Natufian archaeological excavation site in Hilazon Tachtit, in the Galilee area of northern Israel, where archeologists found the 12,000-year-old skeleton of a female shaman alongside 49 tortoise shells, body parts of a leopard, a boar and other animals as well as a human foot.

(AP Photo/Hebrew University)








                                             Archeologists say they found witch doctor skeleton






 
Shawna Ohm,
Associated Press Writer
Nov 18, 2008
JERUSALEM –

Archeologists believe a 12,000-year-old skeleton found in a grave containing 50 tortoise shells, a leopard pelvis,
a cow tail and part of an eagle wing is the remains of a witch doctor.

The skeleton, found at an excavation near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, is believed to be that of a deformed woman around 45 years old from the Natufian culture, which at that time ranged from Syria to the Sinai peninsula.

Leore Grosman, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is in charge of the excavation, said the bones were found in a carefully carved oval grave with the skull resting on a tortoise shell. The skeleton was covered by several large stones, which may have been placed there to keep the witch doctor's spirit entombed.

An additional 49 tortoise shells were found in the grave, along with the items such as the leopard pelvis. A pestle
and mortar used to grind ingredients for potions were also discovered, Grosman said. She said the find cast an unprecedented light on the Natufian people.

"It points out that there are special people with special positions in the society," she said. "We imagined it was so,
but we didn't have real proof for that until now."

Grosman said there are several clues the woman was a witch doctor:


the elaborate burial,

the many animal parts and

physical conditions that probably caused a limp.


Shamans were historically believed to communicate with animal spirits and often had physical deformities, she said.

Mina Weinstein-Evron, an Israeli archaeologist specializing in Natufian culture who did not take part in the dig, said
the find was a breakthrough.

"If it's a witch, if it's a shaman, this would be the first proof ever of such a kind of behavior within this hunter-gatherer group," she said.

But even if the woman wasn't a witch doctor, the burial itself is still unique, Weinstein-Evron said. She said that
most people from the period were buried in communal earthen graves, not interred alone in stone, and that she
had never uncovered anything as elaborate.

The findings were recently published in the United States, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

___



On the Net:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:


http://www.pnas.org
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2009, 09:16:39 am »






This undated file photo released by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, shows a tortoise shell, one of 49 discovered in a grave where the 12,000-year-old skeleton of a female shaman was found alongside body parts of a leopard, a boar and other animals as well as a human foot, at the Natufian archaeological excavation site in Hilazon Tachtit, in the Galilee area of northern Israel.

(AP Photo/
Hebrew University,
HO) 
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2009, 09:18:02 am »







Archeological artifacts, discovered in a cave in the lower Galilee region of northern Israel, are displayed at Hebrew University in Jerusalem November 4, 2008.

An ancient grave unearthed in modern-day Israel containing 50 tortoise shells, a human foot and body parts from numerous animals is likely one of the earliest known shaman burial sites, researchers said on Monday.

REUTERS/
Baz Ratner
(JERUSALEM)
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2009, 09:19:06 am »







Archeologist Leore Grosman shows items, discovered in a cave in the lower Galilee region of northern Israel,
in Jerusalem November 4, 2008.

An ancient grave unearthed in modern-day Israel containing 50 tortoise shells, a human foot and body parts
from numerous animals is likely one of the earliest known shaman burial sites, researchers said on Monday.

REUTERS/
Baz Ratner
(JERUSALEM)
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2009, 09:19:59 am »








Students stand near an excavation site (unseen) in a cave in the lower Galilee region of northern Israel in
this undated handout picture released by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem November 4, 2008.

An ancient grave unearthed in modern-day Israel containing 50 tortoise shells, a human foot and body parts
from numerous animals is likely one of the earliest known shaman burial sites, researchers said on Monday.

The Israeli team found the bones in a small cave in the lower Galilee region of present-day Israel that was
a Natufian burial ground for a least 28 people.

REUTERS/
Naftali Hilger/
Hebrew University/Handout
(ISRAEL).
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2009, 09:20:56 am »








An ancient grave unearthed in modern-day Israel containing 50 tortoise shells, a human foot and body parts
from numerous animals is likely one of the earliest known shaman burial sites, researchers said on Monday.


REUTERS/
Naftali Hilger/
Hebrew University/Handout
(ISRAEL).
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