Friday, August 15, 2008

Unique Burial Site discovered in Sahara

Graves Found From Sahara’s Green Period

An ancient burial site has been discovered in the Sahara, belonging to people who occupied the area from 10,000 to about 5,000 years ago:

...In its first comprehensive report, published Thursday, the team described finding about 200 graves belonging to two successive populations. Some burials were accompanied by pottery and ivory ornaments. A girl was buried wearing a bracelet carved from a hippo tusk. A man was seated on the carapace of a turtle...

Some of the skeletons and funerary belongings are very well preserved. Perhaps most remarkable is the discovery of what appears to be a family buried together (pictured above):

...The most poignant scene was the triple burial of a petite woman lying on her side, facing two young children. The slender arms of the children reached out to the woman in an everlasting embrace. Pollen indicated that flowers had decorated the grave...

The NYTimes has a great slide show, documenting some of the finds and excavation. I really would love to read the original paper. One thing I could tell about these fascinating people though--I bet they were polytheists, like us. Heh!


green_ghost113 said...

very interesting story Gene.
It's amazing about the 2 cultures:
the Kiffians and the Ténérians.
Also found the comment by Dr. Sereno at the end of the article very poignant: "It's still weird for me to be digging up my own species."

genexs said...

I can't keep my eyes off the interlocking fingers. Amazing that the bodies were eroding on the surface.

Yewtree said...

Great post! I'm going to invite you to be a co-author on Pagans for Archaeology.

genexs said...


Wow. I'm beyond flattered! Looks like my Field School grad course in Archeology, when I was an anthropology major, finally is paying off! :)