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Ancient graves in Israel found to be decorated with flowers

By Mason White 2:51 PM July 2, 2013
The ancient grave near Haifa 

By: Moses Gold
Graves that date back more than ten thousand years were found to have been decorated with flowers, according to a statement released by the Israeli Archaeologist Society.

Archaeologists in Israel said that they have found evidence of the earliest examples of flowers that were used to decorate graves in a place inhabited by a Natufian population about 12,000 years ago.

The Natufians are considered as one of the first, if not the first, human societies living in permanent villages instead of living a nomadic life, according to University of Haifa, archaeologist Daniel Nadel. Carbon dating revealed that the graves were between 11,700 and 13,700-years-old.

The graves were discovered in the Mount Carmel area near Haifa, with traces of flowering plants, such as mint and sage, imprinted in the ground of the ancient graves.

“From the Neanderthal era until the Natufians era, which spans a period of about 50,000 years, not one example of graves decorated with flowers were found,” Nadel and his team wrote in a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“People may have been using flowers throughout the period, but documenting these flowers is very difficult because of the decay,” Nadel said.

Twenty-nine skeletons, all within an area of ​​160 square meters, were found several years ago, but recently, meticulous research by the team, came to these conclusions. The imprint of the plant stems and flowers indicate that they may have been sage, mint and other herbs.

Like today, the flowers were meant for both those who died and the survivors.