Plastered Skull – Beisamoun

Period: Pre-Pottery Neolithic B

Chronology: c. 9,000 years ago

Material: human skull bone coated in plaster

The custom of removing the skull and shaping a face made of plaster was a common praxis during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period in the Levant. The plastered and ornate skulls were then buried under the floors of the house as part of a ritual ceremony.

Two such plastered skulls were found next to each other under the floor at the entrance to one of the Beisamoun houses. The second skull is on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Additional Information:

Beisamoun excavation – Hadashot Arkheologiyhot Journal (Hebrew)

Plastered human skulls – Wikipedia

Skull on display at the Israel Museum


Bocquentin, F., Khalaily, H., Bar-Yosef, D., Berna, F., Biton, R., Dubreuil, L., Emery-‎Barbier, A., Greenberg, H., Goren, Y., Horwitz, L.K., Le Dosseur, G., Larnau, O., ‎Miens, H.K., Valentin, B., Samuelian, N., 2014. Renewed Excavations at Beisamoun Investigating the 7th Millennium cal BC of ‎the Southern Levant‎. Mitekufat Haeven – Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 44, 5-100.

Lechevallier, M., Arensburg, B., Smith, P., Yakar, R., Balfet, H., Davis, S., Ducos, P., Farrand, R., Ferembach, D., Hesse, A., Le Brun, A., Mienis, H.K., Perlman, I., Yellin, J., Soliveres, O., 1978. Abou Gosh et Beisamoun. Deux gisements du VII millénaire avant l’ère chrétienne en Israël. Mémoires et Travaux du Centre de Recherches Préhistoriques Français de Jérusalem Jérusalem 2.