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This enigmatic discovery, detailed in an academic article published in PLOS ONE on Thursday, upends our understanding of a little-understood dark age in the Levant following the collapse of Early Bronze Age cities.
Their grave of boulders stacked to form a crude table, known by archaeologists as a dolmen, was one of a vast field of tombs recently excavated by archaeologists in what is now northern Israel. The multi-chambered barrow the three skeletons were found in, however, stood out from the rest.
The excavation of the dolmens, near Kibbutz Shamir in the Hula Valley (a stone’s throw from a Roman manor described in a recent Times of Israel article), commenced after Gonen Sharon, a professor at Tel Hai College and lead author of the study, discovered the rock drawings in 2012. The field was first surveyed in the 1950s.