David Tanami, an archaeologist, pulls a jar out of a tomb at an ancient Canaanite burial site. David Tanami, an archaeologist, pulls a jar out of a tomb at an ancient Canaanite burial site. David Tanami, an archaeologist, pulls a jar out of a tomb at an ancient Canaanite burial site. (Photo: Shua Kisilevitz / Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists now know what ancient ghosts snacked on in the afterlife

Scientists dug up a 4,000-year-old jar of headless toads (mmmm!) at a burial site near Jerusalem.

Sure, you've had potato chips and fruit plates, candy bars and pretzels. But if you really want an intense snack, you might want to try a food the ancients loved so much, they buried people with it: headless toad.

Archaeologists recently uncovered a 4,000-year-old unsealed tomb near Jerusalem. In the tomb, they found a bunch of munitions, including one very special snack item: the bones of headless toads. If you're an ancient Canaanite ghost, you're probably into this weird snack.

The ancients commonly put burial kits in tombs to give the deceased food for their journey to the afterlife, which is surely the most epic road trip imaginable (are you listening, Hollywood?).

"Finding toads is pretty unusual,” said Shua Kisilevitz, the dig’s co-director. Kisilevitz explained that while our ancestors ate many different kinds of animals and frequently buried them with the dead, they didn't often include toads.

digging up burial site near JerusalemMmmmm toad remains. (Photo: Zohar Turgeman-Yaffe/Israel Antiquities Authority)

Scientists like unsealed tombs because they can see exactly how things were when the person was buried.

“For an archaeologist, finding tombs that were intentionally sealed in antiquity is a priceless treasure, because they are a time capsule that allows us to encounter objects almost just as they were originally left,” said the archaeologists in a press release.

Why did ancient people behead the toads? We can't ask them – the ancient people or the toads – but scientists think it might have basically been a cooking technique. It's easier to remove toad skin when you take off the head first, kind of like peeling an onion.

The only question left is, what do the toads snack on in their afterlife? Headless flies?

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