ISRAEL Ancient magic rituals Darb al-Hajj - The artifacts, found in the 1990s on the ancient Darb al-Hajj route from Cairo to Mecca, may have been in magic rituals, according to a newly released study. A study recently published by Dr. Itamar Taxel from the Israel Antiquities Authority, analyzed a collection of artifacts discovered in the late 1990s at an archaeological site in the mountains of Eilat. Their research was recently published in the Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World. The collection of items, uncovered along the ancient Darb al-Hajj route in the Eilat mountains of southern Israel in the late 1990s by Moti Shemtov, includes fragments of clay rattles, resembling table tennis balls, which contained small stones that produced sound when shaken. Two artifacts resembling miniature votive incense altars were found, along with several figurines, including one of a naked woman or goddess with raised hands. According to the study, these artifacts were employed in magical rituals to ward off the evil eye, heal disease, and more. “This discovery reveals that people in the Early Ottoman Period—just as today—consulted popular sorcerers, alongside the formal belief in the official religion,” the researchers stated. An analysis of the ceramic artifacts indicated that they originated from Egypt. According to the IAA their discovery marked the first time such a substantial assembly of ritual objects of this nature had ever been found, especially at a temporary site rather than a permanent settlement. In the vicinity of the Eilat mountains, several camping sites and structures for pilgrims have been discovered. It appears that these structures primarily served during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, beginning in the 13th or 14th centuries C.E.

Artifacts used for ancient magic rituals discovered on Darb al-Hajj route from Cairo to Mecca - Arkeonews

TURQUIE – Inkaya cave painting min 1024x679 Southwestern painting min 1024x535 Detail of southwestern painting min 1024x685  İnkaya cave - A number of cave paintings dating back some 8,000 years have been found in İnkaya cave in the Marmara province of Balıkesir during a field study, During the same studies, another cave located 5 kilometers away from the İnkaya cave was discovered.  The cave paintings discovered in the Baltalıin and İnkaya Caves, which are situated in the Delice neighborhood of the Dursunbey district in the Balıkesir province of Turkey, offer information that sheds light on Neolithic Age life. One of the remarkable findings showing that people in the Prehistoric Age were undeniably knowledgeable about the phenomenon of childbirth is the scene found among the cave paintings of İnkaya Cave. The painting depicts a woman becoming pregnant, the pregnancy, and childbirth in an expression that has yet to be matched. When Baltalıın and İnkaya caves were analyzed separately, it was revealed they were used for different functions, as the paintings in one of them depicted hunting figures, while the other depicted figures of beliefs. The paintings found in the two caves date back to the Late Neolithic period. The floor and northern wall of the İnkaya Cave were greatly damaged by past treasure hunters using dynamite, however, despite this damage, the cave continues to reflect important information about the Neolithic era. İnkaya Cave is located 2.5 km northwest of Delice neighborhood. The cave, with its karstic quality, consists of a gallery that is 4.5 m deep, 8 m wide, and 4.4 m high. It features two murals located on the northern and southeastern outer edges of the cave entrance. The panel located on the left side (southwest) of the cave entrance measures 1.43×0.87 meters. There are also four people dancing in the main part of the painting on the left side of the entrance. A different depiction of a human wearing fur on the right side of two women and two men is depicted, while on the left side of this painting, there is a depiction of a fetus growing in the womb. Across from a human wearing fur, a human is depicted with a snake behind. It was believed that the snake represents death in this figure, which was interpreted as “the moment of death” by the experts. The depiction of a human wearing fur and extending his hand forward is believed to be a shaman who is helping human spirits to go to the land of the dead at the moment of death. A portrayal of a dead human without a head offered to the vultures is also depicted. Life and death are the themes of the cave paintings in İnkaya Cave. The panels representing Life are based on the formation of a fetus inside a pregnant woman’s abdomen, its development, and birth, as well as the celebration of a new individual joining the community, with an emphasis on the shaman’s role throughout this process. In cave paintings, reliefs, and figurines from the Neolithic period in Anatolia, scenes of sexuality, pregnancy, and childbirth are presented to the viewer from various angles. The successful use of the “X-ray” style -The rays pass through the painting and create a negative of the darker areas on film- in the creation of the İnkaya Cave painting in the Neolithic period fills a gap in the history of Anatolian painting and sculpture.

8,000-year-old Cave paintings found in Türkiye's İnkaya Cave depict life and death - Arkeonews

ARABIE SAOUDITE – ALUla - Results of two recent archaeological excavations supported by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) demonstrate that the Neolithic inhabitants of north-west Arabia conducted "complex and sophisticated ritual practices" in the late 6th millennium BCE. Mustatils are large-scale, open-air rectangular structures with low stone walls. Through aerial surveys, researchers have identified more than 1,600 of them across north Arabia. Though the structures' function was at first unknown, excavations since 2018 have pointed to a ritual significance and provided increasing insights into the practice. Results of the two studies have been peer-reviewed and recently published. The study by Dr Wael Abu-Azizeh of the Archéorient Laboratory and France's Lyon 2 University appears in the book "Revealing Cultural Landscapes in North-West Arabia," edited by a team of experts led by Dr Rebecca Foote, Director of Archaeology at RCU. The study led by Dr Melissa Kennedy of Australia's University of Sydney appeared in the journal PLoS One in March..

Discovery of ancient 'Horn Chamber' reveals ritual performed at enigmatic stone structures of north-west Arabia (prnewswire.com)

GRECE – Curse jar athens 696x522 5e7d84b7 12dd 47b7 8b95 6157c834679c 1 201 a 696x514 Athenes - Archaeologists believe that a 2,300-year-old jar from Ancient Greece containing the bones of a dismembered chicken was likely used as part of a curse to paralyze and kill 55 people in Athens. The recent discovery brings new evidence to light regarding the use of magic n Ancient Greece. “Curse tablets,” or thin sheets of lead inscribed with curses against a certain person, are well-known in Greece. They are commonly found underneath the ground after being buried there many centuries ago by the person who wanted someone to be cursed. In a twist on this type of witchery, archaeologists recently discovered the pottery jar filled with chicken bones, along with a coin, underneath the floor of the Athens Agora’s Classical Commercial Building, which millennia ago was the site of craftsmen who plied their trades there. Jessica Lamont, a professor of Classics at Yale University, wrote in an article published in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens’ journal Hesperia “The pot contained the dismembered head and lower limbs of a young chicken.” Lamont noted “All exterior surfaces of the [jar] were originally covered with text; it once carried over 55 inscribed names, dozens of which now survive only as scattered, floating letters or faint stylus strokes.”The professor then added that the Greek writing uses words that may mean “we bind.” Experts involved in the discovery believe that the nail and chicken parts together most likely played a role in the curse on the 55 different individuals. Nails, which are a common feature associated with ancient curses, “had an inhibiting force and symbolically immobilized or restrained the faculties of (the curse’s) victims,” Lamont stated in her scholarly article. Archaeologists have determined that the young chicken had been slaughtered to be used as part of the ritual; they believe that the people who employed the magic may have wanted to transfer “the chick’s helplessness and inability to protect itself” to those they cursed by writing their names on the outside of the jar, Lamont stated. She further explains that the head of the chicken, which had been twisted off, and its piercing along its the lower legs meant that the corresponding body parts in the 55 unfortunate people would also be similarly affected. “By twisting off and piercing the head and lower legs of the chicken, the curse sought to incapacitate the use of those same body parts in their victims,” Lamont notes. She goes on to state “The ritual assemblage belongs to the realm of Athenian binding curses and aimed to ‘bind’ or inhibit the physical and cognitive faculties of the named individuals.” The pottery vessel was discovered near several burned pyres that still contained the burned remains of animals—another aspect of the curse, according to Lamont, which may have been something believed to have increased the power of the curse.The author of the academic paper states in an interview with Live Science that the style of the handwriting on the jar suggests that at least two individuals were responsible for writing the names on the vessel. “It was certainly composed by people/persons with good knowledge of how to cast a powerful curse,” maintained the author.

Ancient Greek Jar From 2,300 Years Ago Holds Curse Against 55 People (greekreporter.com)

ESPAGNE – Cova dones cave art l Cova Dones - The largest collection of prehistoric cave art in Eastern Iberia has been discovered in a cavern in Spain’s Valencia region. Consisting of over 100 images, the extensive array of engravings and paintings features at least 19 different animals and has been dated to over 24,000 years old. Located in the municipality of Millares, Cova Dones has been known to locals for many years and is often visited by cavers and hikers, yet it took until June 2021 for researchers to notice the incredible artworks adorning the walls of the cave. Describing their discovery in a new study, the team explains that “further work in 2023 allowed us to identify the site as a major Palaeolithic art sanctuary, given the quantity and variety of motifs and the richness and detail of its technical features.” So far, the study authors say they have identified “more than 110 graphic units”, with the main decorated area lying roughly 400 meters (1,312 feet) inside the cave. Among these drawings, the researchers have noted at least 19 different animals, including seven horses, seven female red deer, two aurochs, a stag, and two unidentifiable species. The rest of the images are made up of “conventional signs” like rectangles and other shapes, as well as tube-like markings known as “macaroni”. According to the researchers, the ancient artists employed an unexpected range of methods and skills, in some cases scraping off the limestone precipitate on the surface of the walls to create shaded figures. “This technique is rare in Palaeolithic cave art and previously unknown in eastern Iberia,” write the authors. Equally surprising is the fact that the majority of the paintings in Cova Dones were created by applying red clay to the walls. Typically, prehistoric cave paintings were made using diluted ochre or manganese powder, so the use of clay was a highly unexpected finding. In their write-up, the study authors explain that it is not possible to conclusively determine the age of the artworks. However, certain features on the cave walls do provide some clues as to when the drawings might have been created. Most notably, the presence of cave bear claw marks help to indicate the age of some of the engravings. The fact that these scratches overlay a few of the etched figures suggests that the responsible animal entered the cave after the artists had completed their work. “Considering the date for the extinction of the cave bear, we estimate that at least part of the rock art must be more than 24,000 years old,” write the researchers. The study is published in the journal Antiquity.

Unprecedented 24,000-Year-Old Paleolithic Art Sanctuary Found In Spain | IFLScience

ALLEMAGNE – Hunter gatherers around campfire Bad Dürrenberg - Archaeologists have unearthed a 9,000-year-old campsite that may have been frequented by an ancient shaman.The Middle Stone Age (otherwise known as the Mesolithic) site is located near the spa town of Bad Dürrenberg, Saxony-Anhalt state, in east Germany, the German Press Agency (dpa) reported. "This is an immense amount of finds for a Mesolithic site and the flint artifacts are of enormous quality," archaeologist and project leader Jörg Orschiedt told the dpa. The archaeologist said some of the stone artifacts found at the camp site correspond to finds from the tomb of the shaman, which is located nearby. The camp site itself lies on a hilltop at an altitude of more than 300 feet. From here there is a clear view of the place where the shaman was buried. The archaeologists think that the shaman may have belonged to the group that occupied the camp site, which may have been home to around a hundred Stone Age hunter-gatherers at any one time. The shaman's grave was discovered by chance in Bad Dürrenberg in 1934 during the digging of a water pipe ditch.The woman, who was aged around 30-35 by the time she died, was buried upright in a crouching position with a small child in front of her chest. Her grave was elaborately designed and contained a wealth of artifacts, including a headdress made of deer antlers and animal teeth pendants. The evidence indicates that she was a spiritual figure and leader of her group. Now, state archaeologists have been excavating the nearby campsite, on the hilltop, recovering numerous stone tools, bone and antler remains, as well as small flint points known as microliths. The latter, which are typical of the Mesolithic, tend to measure just a few inches in size. They often functioned as arrowheads used for hunting, but had other uses as well."With the camp site... we are now getting our first insight into the lives of people at the time of the shaman," state archaeologist Harald Meller told the dpa. "We are adding another important piece of the puzzle to our picture of this era."The archaeologists said the camp was likely used as a base for hunting activities, and that the surrounding areas will likely yield more finds from the period in future.

Archaeologists Unearth 'Shaman' Campsite From 9,000 Years Ago (newsweek.com)