The Time Tribe

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FROM THE TRENCHES - A sweetly-scented grave for two, 12,000 years old.

A mysterious double burial found in a cave on northern Israel’s Mount Carmel is one of the oldest known examples of flowers used to honor the dead. Ancient mourners painstakingly lined the grave of the pair—an adult male and an adolescent of undetermined sex—with a layer of mud and laid them on a bed of aromatic plants which would have bloomed in pink and lavender. 

The Natufian society flourished between 15,000 and 11,600 years ago in an area that is now Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It was one of the first—possibly the very first—to transition from a roaming hunter-gatherer lifestyle to permanent settlements, and was also the first to establish graveyards as we think of them today.

Filed under The Time Tribe burial customs Natufian culture Israel archaeology National Geographic ritual

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