First Selfies?

Written by Alana Jolley

March 10, 2014

First Selfies?

Could this ancient mask be one of the First Selfies?  I’m fairly sure the creators of these masks did not celebrate Halloween, but what did they do with these masks?  The photo above shows what is apparently one of the oldest masks in the world, dating to about 9,000 years ago, way before writing!  Those who made and used the masks were Stone Age, [glossary]Neolithic[/glossary] people who lived in the Judean desert in Israel.  What do these masks say about their culture?

According to Rozella Lorenzi’s article about a new exhibit, featuring 12 of these ancient masks, (or first selfies)  at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the curator of the exhibit, Debby Hershman, said these limestone “artifacts might represent various ancestors of an early Stone Age religion.” Hershman also says, “these are not living people, these are spirits,” and she thinks they were probably used in some kind of rite having to do with healing and magic.

How can we know for sure that these masks do not represent living people?  They are both old and young; so why couldn’t they be examples of the first “selfies?”   Well, maybe.

Explore More! in Cultural Anthropology, which examines why people do what they do.  What Global Village do these masks originate from?

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