Decorated Natufian skull – note the cowrie shell eyes
As you don your sad-rags, zombie gear, horror clobber, skeleton onesie or whatever it is that floats your boat at this season which sees the ungainly coupling of All Hallows Day, Samhain and the Mexican Dia de los Muertos enhanced/corrupted by commercialism and rendered incoherent by cheap thrills and facepainting, the team here at the GFG-Batesville Shard, though no enemies of larks, has given in to a disinclination to muck in and get carried away, though our spirit of absenteeism has not dissuaded us from wiring up the doorknocker in order to electrocute trick or treaters.
Since ours is a society that loves to plagiarise the practices of other cultures in order the fill the void where our own should be, it is surprising to see us turn up the chance to incorporate funerary rituals of the Natufians.
The Natufians, 13,000 to 9,800 BC, a middle-eastern hunter-gatherer people who were the first to generate agricultural surpluses and form settled communities, eg Jericho, cherished and preserved their dead within the foundations of their homes. After death, their bodies would be buried by their families who would later dig up chosen notables and remove their skulls, returning the rest of the corpse to the earth. The fallen flesh was replaced with modelled clay in order to reproduce the original appearance of the dead person. Cowrie shells were used to imitate eyes. The effect was remarkably lifelike.
Team GFG takes no responsibility for what you now do with this information.
Decorated skulls found at Tell Aswad, near Damascus