A 9,000-year-old wand with a face carved into it was discovered in Syria.
The wand was found at Tell Qarassa, an excavation site of an early farming settlement in what is now southern Syria.
Excavating the site
The site was occupied more than 9,000 years ago and contains the remnants of walls from human settlement, as well as human burials.
The people who lived at the site were some of history's earliest farmers.
Unearthing the past
Here, excavations continue at the site
The wand was found near skeletons.
For some mysterious reason, the skeletons had had their skulls dug up and placed elsewhere at the site.
Revealing the body
Here, a skeleton is unearthed.
It's not clear why the heads were removed and placed elsewhere, though either ancestor worship or the trophy-display of enemy heads are possibilities.
Tia Ghose, Senior Writer
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.