Three plastered skulls that were found prominently displayed in the Neolithic site of Yiftahel in the Galilee, dated to 9,000-8,500 years ago. Courtesy Israel Hershkovitz

9,500-year-old Plastered Skulls Were From Vast Middle East Ancestor Cult, Archaeologists Say

Skulls fleshed out with plaster 9,500 years ago, found from Israel to Turkey, are among the oldest portraits known and are now believed to be linked to the rise of civilization.

Dozens of skulls fleshed out with plaster nearly 10,000 years ago in an area from Israel to southern Turkey, are among the oldest human portraits known. Their purpose remains a mystery, but researchers now...

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