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9,000-year-old mask stuns archaeologists
nationalgeographic.com/culture
โ€“ '...With their vacant eyes and enigmatic, toothy expressions, the 9,000-year-old stone masks from the area around the southern Judean desert are among the regionโ€™s most compelling and distinctive artifacts. Adding to that is their rarity: Only 15 examples are known to exist.

[....] โ€œThe transition from an economy based on hunting and gathering to ancient agriculture and domestication of plants and animals was accompanied by a change in social structure and a sharp increase in ritual-religious activities,โ€...

Alan Simmons... Once you get larger populations and more people living in one place, you need some social control. Thatโ€™s why you start to see more formalized, ritual behavior.โ€ Other indicators of ritual behavior from this period include human figurines and plastered skulls...'

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