(left) Field photograph of two skeletons (adult on left, adolescent on right) during excavation. Photo: E. Gerstein, Haifa University (right) Reconstruction of the double burial at the time of inhumation. The bright veneer inside the grave on the right is partially covered by green plants
When did people first begin to express their feelings with flowers? It turns out that in prehistoric times, Mount Carmel residents in what today is northern Israel buried their dead on a literal bed of fragrant wild flowers, such as Judean sage, as well as blooming plants of the mint and figwort families.
Assuming they had the same positive associations with flowers that we do today, these ancient humans must have sought to ensure for the deceased a pleasant passage from the world of the living.
The discovery is the oldest known use of flowers in grave lining. According to radiocarbon dating performed by Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the graves are 11,700 to 13,700 years old.
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