Archaeologists have dug up what they believe to be the 12,000-year-old skeleton of a “witch doctor,” according to the Associated Press.

The excavators, who found the deformed female skeleton in Northern Israel, say it belongs to a 45-year-old member of Natufian culture.

The body was covered with large stones, which experts say are believed to entomb the spirit.‚  The skull was also resting on one of 50 tortoise shells found in the grave.

In the carefully-carved oval grave, archaeologists also found a leopard pelvis, a cow tail and a piece of an eagle wing.

AP reports that a pestle and mortar were also discovered, which are believed to have been used to grind powder for potions.‚  Spooky.

Most people from the period were buried in communal graves, so the solitary burial, along with the animal parts and deformities are what is causing archaeologists to believe the woman was a “witch doctor.”

According to Israeli archaeologist and Natufian culture expert Mina Weinstein-Evron, the woman belonged to a hunter-gatherer group, which makes the finding all that more unique.

“If it’s a witch…this would be the first proof ever of such a kind of behaviour within this hunter-gatherer group,” she said, according to AP.

Evron said she had never seen a burial so elaborate.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

5 Responses

  1. Steve

    I’ve studied anthropology & archaeology, so I can understand the thrill of finding something that has been hidden for a long time; however, what gives these people the right to assume they have the authority to dig up graves & rob bodies? These bodies belonged to somebody’s loved one: a mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, etc. If age is the only criteria to determine the rightness or wrongness of an act, at what point is it acceptable to do violate somebody’s grave? 20 years? 40 years? 100, or maybe a 1000?


    Steve…you need help, so untill then just ”SHUT UP”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. Joseph P.

    Whom, in their holiness, has decided that this woman was a lowly ‘witch’ and not rather a much loved and trusted ‘Matriarch’ in that community?

  4. Robert

    Steve, I don’t have your background but experienced shock and disgust when I saw a decomposing body of an Egyptian in the museum of Art & History in Albany Ny. I felt that I was violating someone’s rest, and that was SOMEONE, not a relic. It felt morally obscene to display it as an artifact.


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