12,000-Year-Old Shaman Unearthed in Israel

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A new figure in humanity's history emerged last week when archaeologists announced the discovery of what could be one of the world's oldest known spiritual figures. After years of meticulous excavation just miles from Israel's Mediterranean coast, scientists from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem unearthed a 12,000-year-old grave that held the remains of a diminutive "shaman" woman. Buried alongside the woman's small, huddled corpse were selected pieces of animal bone, a cowtail, an eagle wing, the foot of another human, and, most curiously, some fifty tortoise shells deliberately arranged around the woman's body - all tell-tale signs, experts say, of her lofty social status at the time. "This is something very special; it stands apart," says Leore Grosman, the project's lead archaeologist.

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