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12,000-Year-Old Graves Unearthed in Israel

Graves, located in Haifa, are the oldest to be found decorated with flowers

By: Daniel Koren
Published: July 3rd, 2013 in News » Israel
12,000 year old graves found in Haifa

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed 12,000-year-old (approx.) Natufian society graves covered with flowers, confirming the notion that flowers as a decorative design for graves has been around for generations.

Carbon dating suggests that the graves are between 11,700 and 13,700 years old.

The archaeologists suspect the graves date back to a society of people that lived in Haifa Mount Carmel, where Elijah the Prophet resided during Biblical Times.

According to archaeologist Daniel Nadel of the University of Haifa, the Natufian society was one of the first groups to reside in permanent villages as opposed to continuously roaming the earth.

The graves, embedded with imprints of flowering plants (mint and sage to be precise), were discovered in an area of Mount Carmel that overlooks Haifa.

“From [the Neanderthal] example until the Natufians (a period which spans approximately 50,000 years), there is not one example" of flowers decorating graves, wrote Nadel in a study that was published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday.

Nadel went on to state the importance of this discovery, which shows that some of the traditions we know and cherish today are actually thousands of thousands years old. It's quite remarkable if you think about it.

According to Nadel, the grave flowers were intended for both the fallen and the mourners.

Related articles: Oldest Graves, 12, 000-year-old graves, Archaeology, Haifa Mount Carmel, Elijah the Prophet
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