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Ritual, art and society in the Levantine Chalcolithic: the ‘Processional’ wall painting from Teleilat Ghassul

  • Bernadette Drabsch (a1) and Stephen Bourke (a2)

The fragmentary ‘Processional’ wall painting from Teleilat Ghassul in Jordan is here shown to depict a religious procession involving eight individuals rather than the three identified in the original 1970s reconstruction. All of the figures wear masks and carry objects, but elaborately robed leaders, members perhaps of a dedicated priestly class, are clearly distinguished from their naked attendants. The scene belongs to the Late Chalcolithic period when Levantine society was becoming increasingly hierarchical, and the wall painting as a whole illustrates the prominent role of elites in ritual practices at this critical period of social transformation.

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