The first known masks are Halloween-like stone portraits of the dead, according to a forthcoming exhibition at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The exhibit -- called Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World -- reveals for the first time 12 Neolithic masks featuring wide toothy smiles and large eyes.
The eerie stone portraits were carved out of limestone some 9,000 years ago by Stone Age people who were among the first to abandon nomadic life.
Experts believe the artifacts might represent various ancestors of an early Stone Age religion.
The enigmatic artifacts were probably used in rites of healing and magic and in ceremonies celebrating the deceased.
The masks weight about 2-4 pounds and would likely have been painted.
One mask even resembles a human skull.
Intriguingly, several masks feature a set of holes along the outer edge, as if they were hung or worn using cords.