The roughly 9,000-year-old artifact was discovered near a graveyard where about 30 people were buried without their heads — which were found in a nearby living space.
“The find is very unusual. It’s unique,” said study co-author Frank Braemer, an archaeologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France.
The wand, which was likely used in a long-lost funeral ritual, is one of the only naturalistic depictions of human faces from this time and place, Braemer said.
Story: Tia Ghose, Live Science | Photo: Ibanez et al, Antiquity, 2014