They Called Her Jamila – The Mystery of Stone Age Ba’ja

1 x 52 min
Worldwide except for Germany and France

In 2018, archaeologists working on the Ba’ja plateau in Jordan made a fascinating discovery while excavating a Stone Age settlement: the remains of a young girl, buried beneath the floor of a house. She had been buried with grave goods, the most notable of which was an ancient necklace. Inspired by the piece of jewellery, the scientists named the girl Jamila – “the Beautiful”. Before the artefacts could be fully restored in Germany and returned to Jordan, the pandemic hit and the world came to a standstill. Now, archaeologists, restoration experts and historians have returned to work, and their discovery provides a ground-breaking insight into human societies of the Neolithic Age. Ba’ja has settled around 9,000 years ago when humans abandoned their former hunter-gatherer existence and became sedentary. The abundance of food made possible by a temperate climate meant that people no longer had to lead nomadic lives. As a result, they were able to devote time to artistic and creative pursuits. The necklace found in Jamila’s grave proves just how important crafts and aesthetic considerations were at the time: consisting of approximately 2,500 hand-made beads, the jewellery was built around a ring that had to be carefully carved out of a shell. Acclaimed documentary director Barbara Fally-Puskás takes the viewers on a journey through the distant past, to a time when human existence changed more dramatically than it did during the industrialisation of the 19th century. Featuring renowned international experts, the film also explores modern archaeological approaches and the significance of Ba’ja to humanity as a whole. The settlement, the grave and the necklace all contribute to a far greater understanding of our distant ancestors and help to correct mistaken assumptions about the humans of the Neolithic Age. Ba’ja has fundamentally altered our understanding of the past – yet so much about the ancient settlement still remains a mystery… for now.


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