Researchers have discovered one of the earliest known shaman graves in a cave in Israel. Photo: N. Hilger
Reading Researchers have found signs of an early voodoo cult in a 12, 000-year-old tomb in Israel. The tomb contained not only the skeleton of a petite elderly woman who was handicapped, but also 50 tortoise shell and selected body parts of a wild boar, an eagle, a cow, a leopard, a gazelle and two martens. Even a complete human foot was one of them. The burial rituals and the way the tomb was built and sealed indicate that the dead woman was a shaman, the researchers write around Leore Grosman of the University of Jerusalem. The skeleton found in the tomb belonged to an approximately 45-year-old woman who was about 1.50 meters tall. In addition to the signs of bone wear, the researchers also found congenital deformities that probably prevented her from walking and looked unnatural. In addition to parts of a basalt bowl, a pointed bone tool and a notched pebble, the scientists found the foot of an adult human.

Another surprise was the plethora of turtle shells scattered throughout the tomb. According to researchers, the turtles belonged to a kind of funeral feast at the funeral. Unusual was also the collection of body parts of various other animals. These included the skulls of two martens, part of the wing of a golden eagle, tail parts of an aurochs, the forefoot of a wild boar, the pelvis of a leopard and the horn of a gazelle.

The tomb in the Hilazon Tachtit cave in western Galilee is attributed to the time when the people of Israel became sedentary. The transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture took place there more than 12, 000 years ago and also influenced people's social behavior. The discovery of the shaman's grave from this period is one of the earliest indications of the development of spiritual rituals. These were part of a belief system that governed long-term coexistence with people who did not belong to their own family. Later, such grave supplements were an important part of spiritual life worldwide.

Leore Grosman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) et al .: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online pre-publication, DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.0806030105. ddp / science.de? Sonja Römer advertisement

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