JERUSALEM — The oldest known masks in the world went on display in Jerusalem on Tuesday in the largest exhibit of the ghoulish faces, believed to have been created in the Holy Land thousands of years before biblical times.

The 11 stone masks, said to have been discovered in the Judean desert and hills near Jerusalem, date back 9,000 years and offer a rare glimpse at some of civilization’s first communal rituals.

“It’s quite exciting,” said James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum, which is hosting the seven-month exhibit. “When you go back to objects that are this old … that is pretty thrilling.”