For more information on the skull as a seat of power during the Neolithic period, see Gary O. Rollefson, “Invoking the Spirit: Prehistoric Religion at Ain Ghazal,” AO 01:01.


The skulls are housed in six museums: the Jordan Archaeological Museum, in Amman, Jordan (Jericho and Ain Ghazal); the Museum of Jordanian Heritage at the University of Yarmouk, in Irbid, Jordan (Ain Ghazal); the Rockefeller Museum, in Jerusalem (Jericho); the Israel Museum, in Jerusalem (Kfar HaHoresh and Beisamoun); the National Museum, in Damascus, Syria (Tell Ramad); the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, England (Jericho); and the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney, Australia (Jericho). Only the Kosk Hoyuk skull escaped my close scrutiny, though I came within an arm’s length of it at the Nigde Museum, in Turkey.


Neither the medical nor the necromantic texts indicate what skulls were to be used. Presumably, they were anonymous.


The earliest standing stones in the Near East, found in the Negev and southern Jordan deserts, date to the 11th millennium B.C. See Uzi Avner, “Sacred Stones in the Desert,” BAR 27:03.


See Denise Schmandt-Besserat, “Signs of Life,” Origins, AO 05:01.



Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 5 (Chicago: The Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago, 1956), “Gulgullu=skull,” p. 128.


Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 5, “Gulgullu=skull,” p. 128.


J.A. Scurlock, “Magical Means of Dealing with Ghosts in Ancient Mesopotamia,” Ph.D. dissertation, Prescription 74 (Chicago: The Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago, 1988), pp. 322–323.


Daniel David Luckenbill, “Historical Records of Assyria,” Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol. 2 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1968), p. 206.