Jerusalem – A 12,000-year-old skeleton of a shaman was discovered in the Hilazon Cave in the Galilee in an archaeological dig being conducted by archaeologists from the Hebrew University.
The archaeologists found beside the skeleton the remains of 50 turtles, a leopard and a human foot. â€¨â€¨Hebrew University archaeologists found in the Hilazon Cave in the â€¨Galilee a 12,000-year-old skeleton of a woman who apparently engaged in spiritual-religious activity.
Alongside of the skeleton, the tomb contained a number of unusual gifts: fifty turtle shells, the hipbone of a leopard and a human foot. The shaman’s tomb that was discovered in northern Israel is the most ancient such tomb and the only one to be linked to shamanism in the entire Middle East. â€¨
An examination of the woman’s bones found that she was approximately 45 years old. Her bones show that she suffered from several congenital physical ailments and from aging, causing her to suffer from pain. An examination of the skeleton also found that the woman appeared to be distorted in shape and that she probably had a limp. The woman was not more than a meter and a half tall.
The archaeologists, Dr. Abraham Grossman and Professor Anna Baler-Cohen from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, suggest that the uniqueness of the burial and the efforts that were invested in designing the tomb demonstrate that this was the tomb of a shaman who had very high and special status in her community.
The shaman’s role was to mediate between spiritual entities and either the individual or the entire community. Shamans also served in that period as emissaries, healers and magicians.
In many cases, shamans were buried along with objects that attested to their spiritual powers, mainly their connection to entities â€¨ from the animal kingdom whose help they sought. â€¨â€¨
The tomb was filed with unique items, the likes of which were not â€¨found in other tombs from the same era. In addition to the 50 turtle shells, the leopard’s hip and the human foot, the archaeologists also found the bones of a wild boar, the tail of a wild cow and bones from an eagle’s wing. The woman’s body was covered with the tip of the eagle’s resplendent wing. â€¨â€¨The Natufian culture, to which this woman apparently belonged, existed at a time that human society began to establish permanent places of residence and to produce their own food. This woman was the first to have been buried in the cave. After her, at least another 27 people were buried on the site. â€¨â€¨