September 06, 2008

Phallic figurines from Israel

Phallic Figurines Found in Israel Stone Age Burials
Prehistoric graves with an unusual abundance of phallic figurines and oddly arranged human remains have been found in Israel, archaeologists announced recently.

Near Nazerat (Nazareth), the Stone Age site, called Kfar HaHoresh, dates to between 8,500 and 6,750 B.C.


Archaeologists have primarily found female symbolic figurines in other burials of this time period.

"At Kfar HaHoresh, all the gender-oriented symbolism seems to be male," Goring-Morris said. "Researchers in the past have put more emphasis on the 'mother goddess' of agriculture."

Some weird bits of interpretation:
Also the shift in men's role from hunters to more settled herders and farmers may have reduced their status and self-image, Goring-Morris said. This may have led the prehistoric people to bury young male adults at Kfar HaHoresh with animals as a way of honoring their past lives as hunters.
It's not as if the transition to farming/herder happened overnight, so that there would be such "longing" for the men's past lives as hunters. In any case, hunting was never really replaced by farming, but lost its importance in the economic activity of early Neolithic society.

"If you have the skull of your grandfather or grandmother on the mantelpiece at home, this could be your legal document that you were the owner of the house or had certain legal rights, passed from one generation to the next."
Skull as legal document is just plain weird.

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