Biblical Archaeology Review 13:6, November/December 1987

Queries & Comments

An “Easy” Explanation for the Peculiar Headrests for the Dead

My father introduced me to BAR three years ago. BAR has opened up for me a world of insights and revelations about mankind’s Biblical past.

I would like to comment on the article “Peculiar Tomb Headrests May Depict Return to the Womb,” BAR 13:04. The article suggests that the omega-shaped tomb headrests found (primarily) in the École Biblique burial caves have a Mesopotamian origin and represent a return to the womb. Others (Kloner and Barkay) suggest the headrests are “Hathor wigs.”

It seems to me that too much is being “read into” the shape of these headrests. Is it possible that these headrests have no particular meaning other than to orient and cradle the head of the deceased? So much for the “easy way out.”

Mark S. Terzano Woodbridge, New Jersey

I love your magazine and avidly read each issue. However, “The Peculiar Headrests for the Dead in First Temple Times,” BAR 13:04, seemed rather much ado about nothing. My reply:

Those “Omega” headrests from Judean tombs,
I propose, are neither “wigs” nor “wombs,”
But simple, loving designs to keep
Face up the loved ones forever asleep.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.