Israeli archaeologists discover millennia-old evidence of ‘blood vengeance’

Israeli scientists have exposed the earliest evidence of blood vengeance in ancient times.

By: World Israel News Staff

Israeli scientists recently exposed the earliest evidence of blood vengeance in ancient times, found in a cave in the Jerusalem hills believed to have been inhabited by Bedouins.

In an archaeological survey conducted in the cave, Prof. Boaz Zissu, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, discovered a human skull and palm bones that have been dated to the 10th-11th centuries CE, about a 1,000 years old.

The bones were identified by Dr. Yossi Nagar, an anthropologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and Dr. Haim Cohen, of the National Center for Forensic Medicine and Tel Aviv University, as belonging to a man aged 25-40 years.

According to the researchers, “the skull cap shows signs of two traumatic injuries that eventually healed, evidence of previous violence experienced by the victim, as well as a small cut-mark caused close to the time of death, and a blow by a sword that caused certain and immediate death.”

A morphological examination of the skull revealed a great resemblance to the local Bedouin population in Israel, which apparently had a tradition of blood vengeance, even before the birth of Islam.

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This finding is consistent with the historical knowledge that in the period under discussion, a millennia ago, the Jerusalem hills were inhabited by Bedouin who migrated to the area from northern Arabia.

A text from the beginning of the 20th century recounts a case of blood vengeance, during which the one who took revenge presented his family with the skull and right hand of the victim on whom he took revenge, proving that he carried out the socially-prescribed action. These are precisely the parts of the body that were discovered in the present case.

Since the remains found belonged to a person who was previously been involved in violent incidents, the researchers concluded that the findings are the earliest evidence of blood vengeance ever to be discovered.

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