9,000-year-old mask raises concerns about authenticity of Neolithic artifacts

The rare discovery was greeted with both excitement and doubt

Stone mask neolithic
Stone mask from Hebron Hills (although similar, not the mask in question in the article) Image: Hanay (wikimedia)

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 artifacts. 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 sixteenth 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.

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