12,000-year-old grave of female shaman excavated in northern Israel
The 12,000-year-old grave of a female shaman has been unearthed by archaeologists in northern Israel, providing a new insight into religious practices in the prehistoric world. The woman's remains were buried in the tomb at Hilazon Cave in Galilee along with a human foot, an eagle’s wing, a leopard’s pelvic bone and 86 tortoise shells.
The grave of a female shaman has been discovered in northern Israel. The graves of female shamans are quite common throughout Asia but never in Israel till now. Shamanism is often believed to be the earliest stage of religion according to historians and anthropologists of religion and can be found in various parts of the world. The ancient Near East is one part of the world where evidence of shamanism was not found until recently.
The shaman herself was believed to be from the Natufian culture, a little known Near Eastern culture that appeared during the Mesolithic period (between Paleolithic and Neolithic) during the Stone Age. From what we know about Natufians is that they were sedentary before becoming agricultural, which is both rare and difficult among ancient Near Eastern cultures, or it is at least for those furthest away from the eastern Mediterranean. Also the first signs of the domestication of the dog is found among the Natufians.
Other than that, not much is known about the Natufians. They did have settlements close to major important cities and sites that exist today or are mentioned in history. But other than that they remain a mystery.