02 November 2021

Stone mask

"With their vacant eyes and enigmatic, toothy expressions, the 9,000-year-old stone masks from the area around the southern Judean desert are among the region’s most compelling and distinctive artefacts. Adding to that is their rarity: only 15 examples are known to exist. So, when the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced the discovery of a 16th stone mask, it grabbed the attention of archaeologists and the public alike—but also revived a simmering discussion on the authenticity of these unique objects.

The newly discovered mask shares many characteristics of the others found to date. These include a human-size face of soft, carved limestone with large openings for eyes, a defined mouth, and holes drilled around its circumference. The holes lead some researchers to suggest that the masks were designed to be tied to a face or an object."

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