Stone Age lucky charms, at Jerusalem

Stone Age people in what is today’s Israel may have relied on lucky charms in the shape of small figurines, a recent archaeological find suggests.

Two extremely detailed figurines, estimated to be between 9,000 and 9,500-years-old -one in the shape of a ram, the other an abstract design of what could possibly be a large animal — were recently uncovered at an archaeological site in central Israel, near Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement Wednesday.

“It is known that hunting was the major activity in this period,” Hamoudi Khalaily, a director of the excavations at the Tel Moza site, said.

“Presumably, the figurines served as good luck statues for ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their prey,” he noted.

Ice Age bones, at Mexico City

Workers have discovered hundreds of bones belonging to Ice Age animals, including mammoths, mastodons and glyptodons, while digging to build a wastewater treatment plant north of Mexico City.

The bones could be between 10,000 and 12,000 years old and may include a human tooth from the late Pleistocene period, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said Thursday.

Tusks, skulls, jawbones, horns, ribs, vertebrae and shells were discovered 20 meters (65 feet) deep in Atotonilco de Tula, a town in the state of Hidalgo, as workers built a drain, the institute said.

Range of species

These remains belong to a range of species including mastodons, mammoths, camels, horses, deer and glyptodons, the armadillo's ancestor. Some bones may belong to bison, while others have not been identified. "It is the largest and most varied discovery of extinct mega fauna found together in the Mexico basin," archaeologist Alicia Bonfil Olivera said in a statement.

An anthropologist will have to confirm whether the tooth belonged to a human.

"It is not strange because we know that man already lived in the central Mexico region during that period," the archaeologist added.AFP