Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Practice is at least 14,000 years old, with discovery of Israeli burial grounds

At graveside, we frequently leave behind flowers in memory of the deceased. Archaeologists say that humans have been decorating graves with flowers for almost 14,000 years. The first evidence the tradition of floral tributes has been dug up in Israel where sage, mint and other plants were used in ceremonial burials.

When we leave flowers on gravesites today, it is intended as a sign of respect or remembrance. In ancient times - flowers probably served a more utilitarian purpose - disguising the stench of the rotting corpse.

When we leave flowers on gravesites today, it is intended as a sign of respect or remembrance. In ancient times - flowers probably served a more utilitarian purpose - disguising the stench of the rotting corpse.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Flowers, burials, gravesites, ancient tradition, smell, rememberance


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we leave flowers on gravesites today, it is intended as a sign of respect or remembrance. In ancient times - flowers probably served a more utilitarian purpose - disguising the stench of the rotting corpse. It was also believed that scent of the plants would stop animals being attracted to the grave to dig up the body.

The ancient Romans often laid out the ground of the tomb as a garden so the spirit could enjoy itself as it wandered.

The latest example of this practice was found at the bottom of 13,700 to 11,700 year-old graves at a scenic prehistoric burial spot known as Raqefet Cave overlooking the Mediterranean coast.

Professor Dani Nadel and his team used radiocarbon dating on the lining of tombs containing 29 skeletons, of children and adults, with four containing large plant impressions identified as the stems of sage, mint and figwort.

"Flowering plants possess mechanisms that stimulate positive emotional and social responses in humans," Professor Nadel, an archaeologist at Haifa University in Israel says.

"It's difficult to establish when people started to use flowers in public and ceremonial events because of the scarcity of relevant evidence in the archaeological record.

"We report on uniquely preserved 13,700-11,700-year-old grave linings made of flowers suggesting such use began much earlier than previously thought."

Part of plants cells called phytoliths from grasses, leaves, reeds and sedges were identified all over the cave and on its terrace.

Crafted and natural stone objects, perhaps as markers or symbols, as well as a prevalence of flints and butchered animal bones suggesting celebratory feasts.

"Some of the plant species attest to spring burials with a strong emphasis on colorful and aromatic flowers," Nadel said.

"Cave floor chiseling to accommodate the desired grave location and depth is also evident at the site. Thus, grave preparation was a sophisticated planned process, embedded with social and spiritual meanings reflecting a complex pre-agricultural society undergoing profound changes at the end of the Pleistocene."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

European Court of Human Rights: Europe CAN NOT be forced to recognize same-sex 'marriages'

Image of Marriage IS between a Man and a Woman ONLY.

By Adelaide Mena

Is the disordered homosexual lifestyle destroying our great American culture? Strasbourg, France, (CNA/EWTN News) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the refusal to recognize same-sex "marriages" does not violate the European Convention on Human ... continue reading


Are You a Ready or an Unready Catholic?

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

There are many Catholics who are "unready" Catholics, that is, operating under ill advice or bad counsel.  They have adopted the counsel of sophists, satanists, or doubt-sowers, and have departed as a result from the teachings of the Church.  Their ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell on Same-Sex 'Marriage': Framing the Issue Right Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

The first step for a Catholic to recognize his obligation to oppose same-sex "marriage," if he does not see it or comprehend it, is to rid himself of the flawed moral heuristic (a moral rule of thumb or short cut) some ideologue has chosen and which may be blinding him ... continue reading


Pacing a New Online Relationship

Image of Pacing an online relationship is different for each couple.

By Catholic Match

Every couple that meets on CatholicMatch moves at their own pace. For some, it's important to move from online connection to a face-to-face date as soon as realistically possible. For others, it's important to let things grow gradually. Matt and Katie fell into the ... continue reading


The example of the Holy Family: Do you follow it?

Image of The Holy Family is the ultimate example for us to follow in our daily lives. We need a daily reminder of this.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is no community as sacred as the family. When we reflect on the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, we see modeled for us how to be as a member of our own family. Whether we're a father, a mother, or a child, the Holy Family shows us how to be. It is ... continue reading


Michael Proposed With A Video

Image of Michael and Laura.

By Catholic Match

Laura was tired of the dating scene or at the very least the relationship scene. By the time the 24-year-old from Maryland got to CatholicMatch, all she wanted was to go on some dates with nice guys, but to keep it casual, just have dinner, and maybe hear that she was ... continue reading


Children: The Crowning Glory of Marriage Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The American cultural lens of late has warped the way in which children are viewed to the point that they are seen not as gifts but as burdens. Many people no longer recognize children for who they are: precious jewels of indescribable beauty and worth whose growth, ... continue reading


How One Couple Met, Fell in Love, and Met the Pope

Image of Deanna and Michael with Pope Francis.

By Catholic Match

Deanna, 24, and Michael, 28, had never dated before they meet each other on CatholicMatch. Michael had been discerning the priesthood for four years, and it seems God had placed a bubble around lovely Deann a saving her just for Michael. They were married on October 5, ... continue reading


June is Global Heartbeat of the Family Month, but what is it? Watch

Image of What is the heartbeat of your family?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A few readers have messaged Catholic Online, asking about Catholic Online's "Global Heartbeat of the Family Month" celebration, what it is and how it works. We wanted to take a moment to share our vision with readers so each family can participate. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


An Engagement Built On God, Country & Star Trek

Image of Alex and Emerald.

By Catholic Match

Alex and Emerald are both idealistic young people, dedicated to serving others. At the young age of 23, they have already made self-sacrificing decisions in the service of others. Alex, currently stationed in Norfolk for the U.S. Navy wrote on his CatholicMatch profile ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:1-9
1 That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Bridget of Sweden
July 23: Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Upplandís Lagman, Birger ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter