Female Shaman Buiral Site From the Natufian Era

The female shaman body found in Israeli cave gives us insight of the ancient burial rituals .


The female shaman found in the burial site was 45 when she died 


Her bones are showing she wasn’t higher than 1.5 meters . She also suffered from variety of deceases and distortions and deformations .The woman was buried together with a human foot , tortoise shells , eagle’s wing and many more . Archeologists consider the remnants to be some 12 000 years old . The grave was found is the Hilazon Tachtit (Lower Hilazon River ) cave , Galilee – North Israel .

 excavation at female shamans' grave


The burial site is a time portal showing us the interment traditions in the Natufian Era .


The Natufian culture existed 15 000 to 9000 years ago . Archaeologists believe the Natufian  people are some of the first humans that abandoned the nomadic ways of life . They have settled in nowadays Galilee and started producing resources instead of just hunt and gather them . On the site archeologists found evidences of bread backing and grain grinding .


The extremely well preserved burial site has given the scientists the opportunity to identify the individual rituals accompanying the burial of the female shaman . The site showing how the ancient treated their dead , and the ceremonies they held . The way the she has been buried is definitive evidences of spiritual practices and traditions .


the entrance to the cave where the female shaman was found


The good preservation of the site helped the archeologists to identify all the stages of the burial ritual of the female shaman 


The ceremony has begun with the digging oval hole in the rocks . Then the they have laid down large stones , tortoise shells , seashells , deer body and a basalt bowl intendedly ,  broken in to pieces for the sake of the ceremony .


drawing on the female shaman laid in her graveAfter that  the grave was filled with animal bones . Female shaman’s body has been lied down . More animal bones and parts was placed beside her . The collection included leopard’s pelvis , pig’s leg , two sculls of martens and cow’s tailbone . The most interesting bone it the grave was a human foot. Judging by the size of the bone the foot didn’t belong to the shaman.


The next layer placed in the grave consisted more deer bones and tortoise shells 


Due to the fact that the deer bones were mainly from young deer , the archeologist concluded that the burial took place in the spring . The grave has been finally covered with a large triangular stone .


The whole excavation and analysis on the burial site of the female shaman took three years . It provided priceless information about the ancient traditions . it is a glimpse of the prehistorical spirituality of the human kind . It is an evidence of complex ceremonial system .


Related Literature

Natufian Foragers in the Levant: Terminal Pleistocene Social Changes in Western Asia

by Ofer Bar-Yosef and Francois R. Valla


The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine

by Barbara Tedlock Ph.D.



by Piers Vitebsky


Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy

by Mircea Eliade , Willard R. Trask and Wendy Doniger 


The Way of the Shaman

by Michael Harner