BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

“Lay Some Flowers on My Grave”

Oldest grave flowers discovered in Israel

More than 14,000 years ago, an adult male and adolescent of the Natufian culture were buried with flowers in a double grave. It is the earliest known example of flowers being placed with a burial. Photo: M. Eisenberg, E. Gerstein, A. Regev.

Fourteen-thousand-year-old examples of grave flowers have been uncovered in burials in Israel from the Natufian culture. The Natufians lived in the Levant from 13,000–9800 B.C. The culture was remarkable in that it was sedentary—or at least semi-sedentary—before the introduction of agriculture.

Impressions of ancient flowers were found in Raqefet Cave in Mount Carmel. Although excavations concluded at the cave several decades ago, the contents of the cave are still being analyzed by a team led by Dr. Dani Nadel of the University of Haifa. Based on cross-sections taken of the flower impressions, the team was able to identify several aromatic plants, such as mint and sage. Additionally, the team determined that the flowers had been laid in plaster inside the grave before the bodies were interred. The findings were recently detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Why Study Prehistoric Israel?

12,000-Year-Old Shaman Funeral Reflects Natufian-Period Changes

No Matches? No Problem. Ancient Fire-Making in Israel

Manot Cave Skull Links Modern Humans to Neanderthals

Going Paleo: Prehistoric site in Israel offers menu for a Paleolithic diet

The Ancient Bean Diet: Fava Beans Favored in Prehistoric Israel
 


 


9 Responses

  1. D says:

    Customs like sprinkling rice or placing flowers on graves are probably rooted in a belief in a physical afterlife or in bodily resurrection.

    Narrowly construed, “biblical archaeology” is the archaeology of the Levant in the biblical period, from the Late Bronze Age to the end of classical antiquity, more or less. But the physical remains of the land obviously stretch back much further, so there’s no problem here with publishing the kind of finding you see here.

    And “biblical archaeology” is archaology about the Bible as a text, as well as the people and lands associated with it — two religions that “own” the Bible and a third related to the same tradition are historical religions rooted in particular and real times and places. But it’s not a theological exercise, and it in no way requires a belief in “young Earth” creationism. Indeed, it requires no religion (in the sense of theological beliefs) at all.

    The Bible doesn’t require belief in creationism — it doesn’t come with a complete and universal calendar or a cosmological theory. Universal chronologies that underlie modern creationism were first constructed in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance by Jewish and Christian scholars and were forerunners of modern scientific chronologies — but they don’t pass muster as science today. Such chronologies didn’t exist in ancient times — the chronologies of those days were partial and often patchwork affairs.

  2. John says:

    Why do you believe in God. What’s the point if you can’t believe his word. Are we not discovering year on year more evidence that backs the bible up. Have Archaeologists not discovered nearly every town and city talked about in genesis. So I suggest you give a more respect to the 2500 year old book instead of some new rambling scientist theory’s and crazy unproven dating techniques.

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9 Responses

  1. D says:

    Customs like sprinkling rice or placing flowers on graves are probably rooted in a belief in a physical afterlife or in bodily resurrection.

    Narrowly construed, “biblical archaeology” is the archaeology of the Levant in the biblical period, from the Late Bronze Age to the end of classical antiquity, more or less. But the physical remains of the land obviously stretch back much further, so there’s no problem here with publishing the kind of finding you see here.

    And “biblical archaeology” is archaology about the Bible as a text, as well as the people and lands associated with it — two religions that “own” the Bible and a third related to the same tradition are historical religions rooted in particular and real times and places. But it’s not a theological exercise, and it in no way requires a belief in “young Earth” creationism. Indeed, it requires no religion (in the sense of theological beliefs) at all.

    The Bible doesn’t require belief in creationism — it doesn’t come with a complete and universal calendar or a cosmological theory. Universal chronologies that underlie modern creationism were first constructed in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance by Jewish and Christian scholars and were forerunners of modern scientific chronologies — but they don’t pass muster as science today. Such chronologies didn’t exist in ancient times — the chronologies of those days were partial and often patchwork affairs.

  2. John says:

    Why do you believe in God. What’s the point if you can’t believe his word. Are we not discovering year on year more evidence that backs the bible up. Have Archaeologists not discovered nearly every town and city talked about in genesis. So I suggest you give a more respect to the 2500 year old book instead of some new rambling scientist theory’s and crazy unproven dating techniques.

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