Israeli archaeologists have discovered the skeleton of a witchdoctor, dating back to 12,000 years ago.
Apparently the skeleton is that of a deformed woman aged about 45 from the Natufian culture, which ranged from Syria to the Sinai peninsula.
Leore Grosman, who is in charge of the excavation, said the bones were found in a
The skeleton was covered by several large stones, which may been placed there to keep the witch doctor's spirit entombed.
An additional 49 tortoise shells were found in the grave, along with a leopard's pelvis, a cow's tail and part of an eagle's wing. A pestle and mortar used to grind ingredients for potions were also discovered, Shawna Ohm, reported for The Scotsman.
Ms Grosman said the find cast an unprecedented light on the Natufian people.
"It points out there are special people with special positions in the society," she said. "We imagined it was so, but we didn't have real proof for that until now."
There were several clues that the woman was a witch doctor: the elaborate burial, the presence of so many animal remains and physical conditions that probably caused a limp. Shamans were historically believed to communicate with animal spirits and often had physical deformities, she said.