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Photos: A Bronze Age Burial with Headless Toads

Bronze Age cemetery

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Bronze Age cemetery)

An aerial photo shows the place where archaeologists found more than 60 ancient graves in a Bronze Age cemetery in Jerusalem.

Leftovers from a funerary feast?

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Zohar Turgeman-Yaffe, Israel Antiquities Authority)

In one of the rock-cut tombs, archaeologists made a rare discovery: a jar full of bones from nine headless toads. The toads had been decapitated before they were buried with the dead, possibly as a way to prepare the animals to be "eaten."

Shaft burial

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Shua Kisilevitz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

The jar was found inside a narrow tomb that had been sealed for thousands of years.

Intact jars

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Shua Kisilevitz, Israel Antiquities Authority))

One poorly preserved skeleton was found on its back inside the burial chamber, among intact jars and other ceramic vessels.

4,000-year-old feast?

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Shua Kisilevitz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

An archaeologist shows a ceramic jar being brought out of the tomb, for the first time in 4,000 years.

Intact pottery

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Vessels full of food were common offerings during funerals of this period.

An offering for the afterlife

Bronze Age cemetery

(Image credit: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

People often buried the dead with objects or offerings that could serve them during their passage to the afterlife.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.