PREHISTORIC BURIAL: JERICHO SKULLS
Skull of an ancient inhabitant of Jericho
This is one of seven skulls found by archaeologists at the site of ancient Jericho.
The skulls were covered with a layer of clay and plaster, simulating flesh, and the eyes were made of cowrie shells from the Red Sea - showing that the Jericho community, even in its earliest days, had long-distance trade contacts.
The skulls were found in a pile beneath the floor of a house in Jericho. Archaeologists believe they were the skulls of venerated ancestors.
DEATH AND BURIAL IN ANCIENT TIMES
Among many people, including the Israelites, there were two burials:
It is not really known how this practice began, or what the thinking was behind it. Scholars suggest that it may have arisen from a different concept of death.
Today, people think of death as instantaneous, but in many non-literate societies death was seen as a slow change, a journey from the visible world of the living to the invisible one of the dead.
While the body was decomposing it was sometimes treated as if it was still partly alive: it was given food and drink, and visited by relatives and friends. This is why, for example, the great funarary temples of Egypt were built.
In Israel at the time of Christ, the body was left to decompose and then the bones were reburied in an ossuary box, a small receptacle long enough to hold unbroken thigh bones and deep enough for the skull.
It seems that in prehistoric Jericho, the flesh of the dead body was allowed to decompose and then the skull was coated with clay and probably painted, to simulate the appearance of the person when alive.
Go back to PREHISTORIC JERICHO
Other Online Bible Websites
Study famous and historical people, places, artwork and archaelogy of the Holy Bible online.
For more online Bible study resources and activities, visit the following websites:
www.bible-people.info - stories of the Bible's most famous men and women - Moses, Judas, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and more
www.womeninthebible.net - all about Bible women, good and bad: Ruth, Deborah, Mary of Nazareth, Jezebel
www.bible-archaeology.info - archaeological evidence and the Bible - what can we prove?
http://www.bible-art.info/ - Bible paintings and artworks: Nativity, Resurrection, Esther, Martha and Mary
http://www.bible-topten.com/ - Top Ten heroes, bad women, ways to hell, young people, villains, murders, films
http://www.bible-architecture.info/ - more about houses, palaces, temples and fortresses
To search through all websites click HERE »