Our human species may be open-hearted in the twenty-first-century, but we don’t own the market on magnanimity. Archeologists in Israel have studied a prehistoric cemetery, looking for clues about the customs with which ancient people buried their dead. (When we say “ancient,” we’re talking up to 13,700 ago. I can’t even think back to a time when YouTube cat videos didn’t yet exist).
One of their finds is astounding. The excavated graves had been originally lined with fresh blooms from plants in the sage, mint and figwort families. Turns out these prehistoric folk laid their loved ones to rest on soft beds of scented wildflowers. Scientists speculate that the mourners were trying to provide the recently deceased with a few creature comforts as they transitioned to the next world. Sounds much more practical than a memorial wreath, don’t you think?
There have been other discoveries that prove compassion dates back to prehistory. We didn’t invent decency. Being kind is in our blood. And it’s been there for a very long time.