Archaeological Find: Yikes.

Archaeologists in Israel Unearth 3,800-Year-Old Skeleton of Baby Buried in Jar”

Ancient world, why oh why did you bury babies in jars? And why did you have myths about children being imprisoned in jars while still alive?

Maybe you had a good reason. The archaeologists in this article are giving you the benefit of the doubt, saying that you wanted to protect the body, or re-create a womb-like environment. That could be true. I hope it’s true.

But all I can say is that this creeps me out.

8 thoughts on “Archaeological Find: Yikes.

  1. Benjamin Ledford

    It’s possible that we’re overthinking it. A jar is a container that is about the right size for a baby, so I don’t know that it needs a complicated or symbolic reason (not to say there may not be one).

    Today, still births and children who die in infancy are most often buried in coolers, simply because they are the right size and we don’t produce many infant-sized caskets (and many people aren’t even aware that they’re available). I’m not saying that’s a good practice – I think it’s an indictment of our society and how we handle death – but I don’t see that it’s any better or much different than using a jar if you’re in the bronze age.

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    1. I hope you are right. There is at least one Greek myth about a god who was imprisoned in a jar when he was a baby. But that doesn’t mean all jar burials were murders. After all, we have stories about people being buried alive but that’s not the usual use for coffins.

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  2. The ancient Greeks and Romans regularly buried their infants in amphoras, in fact there are whole cemeteries that have been found with thousands of infant burials in this manner. It was common practice. I suppose what feels normal to one civilisation can seem very strange to another.

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    1. Yeah, it doesn’t help that I once read this novel where a larger & more aggressive species of humans had come to Turkey from Siberia and were, in fact, burying babies in jars as part of something dark … Can’t remember whether it was genetic experiments or just good old-fashioned human sacrifice … Anyway — deep breath — FICTION.

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