Before King Tut, Hatshepsut or Ramesses I — in fact, before there were any pharaohs at all — someone pecked an image of a hunter and a dancer wearing an ostrich mask into a rock on a hill along the Nile River.
The image, discovered recently by archaeologists, provides a tantalizing glimpse of Egypt’s Neolithic period, or Stone Age. It likely dates back to the latter half of the fourth millennium B.C., said Ludwig Morenz, an Egyptologist at the University of Bonn in Germany. The depiction of a masked dancer in this era is particularly fascinating, Morenz told Live Science.
“[In] ancient Egyptian culture, we know many, many masks, but they are basically all masks for the dead,” Morenz said. “And here we have a mask culture which predates pharaonic culture.”
Story: Stephanie Pappas, Live Science | Photo: David Sabel