ExhibitionsAbout The Museum

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 Warrior

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

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The Cave of the Warrior in Wadi el-Makkukh

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