These Are the World’s Oldest Masks Ever Discovered, And Are Estimated to Be 9000 Years Old


Elie Posner/Israel Museum

In 1983, a small team of archaeologists led by Harvard prehistorian Ofer Bar-Yosef, excavated a recently looted cave in the southern Judean Desert. Known as Nahal Hemar, the site appears to have been used to store thousands of objects from an ancestor cult. The scientists uncovered rope baskets, wooden beads, shells, flint knives, figurines carved from bone, human skulls decorated with molded asphalt, and embroidered textiles that may once have been ritual costumes.

h/t: vintag.es


Elie Posner/Israel Museum

They also found fragments of two stone masks, approximately 9,000 years old, which now belong to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Strands of hair, preserved for thousands of years in the dry climate, were stuck to the masks in clumps.


Elie Posner/Israel Museum

Other Neolithic masks have also been unearthed in the area as well. The rare stone artifacts were sculpted by early farmers whose immediate ancestors had given up hunting and gathering and settled in the Judean Hills, the location of the modern city of Jerusalem, and in the fringes of the nearby Judean Desert.


Elie Posner/Israel Museum

Weighing in at one or two kilograms apiece, each of the artifacts represents a oval visage with glaring ocular cavities, toothy maws, and a set of holes along the outer edge. They were likely painted in antiquity, but only one has remnants of pigment. Each of them is unique, and possibly depicts individuals. Some of the faces are old, others appear younger. One is a miniature, the size of a brooch. They may represent ancestors venerated as part of an early Stone Age religion.


Elie Posner/Israel Museum


Elie Posner/Israel Museum


Elie Posner/Israel Museum


Elie Posner/Israel Museum


Elie Posner/Israel Museum


Elie Posner/Israel Museum

(Visited 1 times, 3 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Japanese Papercraft Artist Turns Snack And Sweet Packaging Into Awesome Characters
Simone Williams Breaks Guinness Record for World’s Largest Afro
Wax Sculpture Of Sleeping Woman Doubles As Candle
Masterfully Designed LEGO Animals By Felix Jaensch
Dashi Namdakov Is Turning Heads With His Fantastic Bronze Sculpture
Okuda Installs The World’s Northernmost Sculpture In Yakustk, Russia
Japanese Students Build Massive Boat Made Of Handmade Sweets
"Bestiary 5+": Virtual Museum Of Children’s Fine Arts
A Winning Costume Made From Balikbayan Boxes
IKEA Is Selling 'Flat-Pack' Chocolate Bunny, So You Can Assemble Your Own Easter Candy
Facebook Users Are Choosing The Graffiti For The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
Budding Artist Spends Almost 100 Hours per Month Building Mini Pubs and Shops
Clay, Chaos and Urban Detritus Merge in Daniil Antropov’s Ceramic Sculptures
Hats Off to Artists Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda
This Makeup Artist Transforms Herself Into Various Celebrities And Popular Characters
Japanese Artist Man Creates Complex Objects out Of Twisted Balloons
Ingenious Rocking Chair Knits A Hat for You As You Sway Back And Forth
New Zealand's New Flag Could Be One Of These Designs
"I See Faces": Artist Ilan Adar Creates Amazing Stone Portraits
International London Tattoo Convention
Alexander Calder’s Iconic Flying Colors Series for Braniff Airlines in the 1970s
The Against The Wall Christmas Tree: Introducing a Christmas Tree That’s Perfectly Fits for Homes with Limited Space
Superhero Bookshelves By Turkish Artist Burak Doğan
Artist Arranges Stones In Stunning Patterns On The Beach, Finds It Very Therapeutic
"Origin Of The Beginning": Surreal Woden Installations Inspired By The Childhood Memories Of Levi van Veluw
Chevrolet Has Another Life-Size LEGO Build, This Time Its A Silverado
Vintage Photos of Stunning Custom Cars Painted by Larry Watson in the 1950s
Russian Artist’s Cute Felted Wool Animals Might Hypnotize You With Their Googly Eyes
Amazing Vintage Photos Of Portuguese Women From The Azores Islands In Their Tradition Hooded Capes
Colossal Snow And Ice Sculptures Of The 2019 Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo