Monday, November 3, 2008

Ancient female shamans

The discovery of a 12,000-year-old grave of a female shaman reminds me of my earlier obsession with the Ice Maiden, who was discovered in the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian border. More about her in another post, lets talk about this new powerful woman.

It is believed to be the oldest known shamanic burial sites and was discovered in modern-day Israel. A body of a woman of great status was found buried with 50 tortoise shells, a complete human foot and various animal parts, including select body-parts of a wild boar, an eagle, a cow, a leopard, and two martens.

When she was buried, more than 10 large stones were placed directly on the head, pelvis, and arms of the woman whose body was laid on its side. Her legs were spread apart and folded inward at the knee. I wonder if they were splayed wide like the Sheila Na Gig or if they are in a dancing or leaping position consistent with her sideways positioning?

Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Leore Grosman and colleagues said, "The interment rituals and the method used to construct and seal the grave suggest this is the burial of an ancient shaman, one of the earliest known from the archaeological record," they wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The unique treatment of the body and use of stones to maintain positioning suggests the woman held a revered position in the community. This burial site is unlike any burial found in the Natufian or the preceding Palaeolithic periods.

original article
learn more about The Natufians, click here or click here

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