World’s Oldest-Known Masks Go on Display in Jerusalem

Eleven masks considered to be the oldest-known masks in the world have gone on display in Jerusalem. The masks that are believed to be 9,000-years-old were shown to the public for the first time on March 11.

The masks were discovered in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. For 10 years, researchers have been trying to know their age with the help of carbon 14 dating. The skulls are said to be created during the new Stone Age, which means that the masks were made before the invention of writing.

Archeologists are also of the belief that they were made in the area before the birth of modern religions took place. It was the time when a lot of changes were taking place like humans were changing their life styles and hunters had started raising crops.

Some of the masks were used for decoration purposes in temples and other places. One of the masks closely resembles the face mask made by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

Computer analysis has unveiled that these masks were worn by people at that time. Even, ancient cave drawings had shown people wearing masks. The masks are said to be formed from stone, and that helped them to remain intact till now.

For now, exact reason could not be known as what led to the formation of these masks. But scientists said that the masks could have been crafted to bring people together through ceremonies and rituals.

"When you go back to objects that are this old, that are so much before the theology that becomes Judaism, Christianity and then Islam, to feel that there is a kind of a connection", said James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum.