Thursday, July 05, 2012

Mount Carmel Caves Nominated to Join World Heritage List

Four caves that have extensive evidence of human Palaeolithic occupation have been placed on the World Heritage List. They are Tabun, Jamal, El-Wad and Skhul. Tabun and Skhul are near and dear to the heart of every palaeoanthropologist as being the site of the early modern and Neandertal remains described in The Stone Age of Mount Carmel, by McCown and Keith, which was published in 1937. The story, from the Jerusalem Post, notes:
The sites are “located in one of the best preserved fossilized reefs of the Mediterranean region” and contain cultural deposits filled with 500,000 years of human evolution, from the Lower Paleolithic era to the present day, said a summary document that the World Heritage Committee printed in May.

The Nahal Me’arot caves provide “a definitive chronological framework at a key period of human development,” according to the summary document. Archeological evidence found in the region indicates the appearance of modern humans who conducted deliberate burials and who were exploring early stone architecture, as well as transitioning from hunting and gathering to agricultural processes.
This is long overdue. The Mount Carmel area is also traditionally where Elijah struck down the prophets of Baal.

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