Have you ever found something you’d consider to be buried treasure?
Well, it wasn’t exactly treasure that archaeologists in Israel uncovered, but instead, artifacts involved in magical rituals.
In 1990, a set of clay objects was discovered by archaeologists in the Eilat region of southern Israel in a similar area where the remains of a Muslim pilgrimage road called Darb al-Hajj were found.
The pilgrimage road had been around since the 7th century A.D. and led travelers to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which was considered the holiest city for practicing Muslims. Scientists and researchers approximate the road was used until the 19th century.
While en route to Mecca, researchers believe that those making the pilgrimage would perform and participate in rituals to keep themselves safe during their travels. These ceremonial rituals were considered magical and were said to help travelers ward off disease and the evil eye.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, after examining the approximately 400-year-old objects found along this route in 1990, it is believed they were used in some of these magical rituals.
Researchers released details on these objects as part of a study published in the “Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World” this summer.
One of the objects included a figurine of a woman with outstretched arms that could possibly have been portraying a goddess. There were also animal figurines, seashells, pebbles, an altar used for burning incense, and rattles filled with small stones that would have been used in these magical ceremonies.
This large discovery of objects is one of the first times such a mass discovery has been made while researching along the path where Darb al-Hajj was.