The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of
Ornit Ilan, Curator of the Rockefeller Museum, 1992-2001
A 6,000-Year-Old Nobleman: Finds from the Cave of
The extraordinary nobleman's burial from the late Chalcolithic
period (3900-3700 BCE) was uncovered in a cave in Wadi el-Makkukh,
the Judean Desert. The dry desert climate preserved the skeleton
of the deceased in a kilt, a long elegant sash, and a shroud. Nearby
lay the gifts that were intended to accompany him into the afterlife.
This man, who had lived to an exceptionally old age, was given an
elaborate burial. As part of the rites, his body and the objects
left with him were anointed with a red pigment produced from ocher.
The nobleman probably lived in Jericho or the vicinity. When he
died, his body was carried to a remote cave located in a high cliff.
The efforts invested in his burial provided the first clue that
he was a person of high social standing. The fine items buried with
him - textiles of remarkable size and quality, a sophisticated bow,
a long flint knife, a walking stick, and sandals - provided further
evidence that this was indeed the tomb of a nobleman.
Reconstruction of the nobleman in full garb
The Cave of the Warrior in Wadi