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

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

The rare discovery was greeted with both excitement and doubt

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.