Rediscovering Geula Cave: A Middle Paleolithic cave site in northern Mt. Carmel, Israel

Omry Barzilai, Talia Abulafia, Maayan Shemer, Hila May, Meir Orbach, Amos Frumkin, Reuven Yeshurun, Rachel Sarig, Naomi Porat, Israel Hershkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper focuses on new findings from Middle Paleolithic Geula Cave, Israel, located in the northern part of Mt. Carmel. The cave, consists of several small chambers that are remnants of a larger cave system, initially excavated between 1958 and 1964. The occupation at the cave was ascribed to Middle Paleolithic modern humans. In 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted in areas of the cave that were not previously explored. Analyses of the new excavation revealed a consistency in lithic technology throughout the new excavation areas, with an emphasis on Levallois production using mainly bidirectional and centripetal core preparation modes. The faunal study identified intensive hyena and porcupine activities in small chambers, probably at the back part of the cave, while fractured bones in association with flint artifacts were found at what appears as the living area in the cave. Luminescence ages indicated that Geula Cave was occupied as early as 175 ka, but that the major occupation was from 120 to 100 ka. The major occupation at Geula chronologically overlaps with the Skhul and Qafzeh Caves thus reinforcing the notion that Homo sapiens dominated the southern Levant during early MIS 5. This study demonstrates the importance of reinvestigating and reevaluating past excavated prehistoric sites and their contents to enhance our understanding of the regional, cultural and biological history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary International
Volume624
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA

Funding

The new excavation in Geula Cave was conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (Permit A-7223) and the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research. All necessary permits were obtained for the described study, which complied with all relevant regulations. The excavation was financed by Shikun Ovdim of the Shikun & Binui Group, and the Dan David Foundation. The funders played no role in the study design, data collection, and analysis, the decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The 2016 excavation was directed by O. Barzilai with the assistance of T. Abulafia, M. Shemer, and L. Davis (area supervision); I. Hershkovitz, R. Sarig, and H. May (anthropology); M. Orbach and R. Yeshurun (archaeozoology); A. Frumkin and M. Ullman (speleology); N. Shtober-Zisu (geology); R. Mishayev, R. Liran, and M. Kahan (surveying); A. Dagot (GPS mapping); P. Gendelman (scientific consultation); K. Sa'id and L. Talmi (organizational planning and support); Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), students from Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion universities and laborers from Wadi Ara. We thank the late Avraham Ronen and Mrs Ella Wreschner for their invaluable help and providing access to the data records of the 1958–1962 excavations. Special thanks are extended to Maya Oron and Marion Prévost for a fruitful discussion concerning lithic technology. This paper was presented in the 9th ESHE meeting in Liége, Belgium. The new excavation in Geula Cave was conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (Permit A-7223) and the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research. All necessary permits were obtained for the described study, which complied with all relevant regulations. The excavation was financed by Shikun Ovdim of the Shikun & Binui Group , and the Dan David Foundation . The funders played no role in the study design, data collection, and analysis, the decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The 2016 excavation was directed by O. Barzilai with the assistance of T. Abulafia, M. Shemer, and L. Davis (area supervision); I. Hershkovitz, R. Sarig, and H. May (anthropology); M. Orbach and R. Yeshurun (archaeozoology); A. Frumkin and M. Ullman (speleology); N. Shtober-Zisu (geology); R. Mishayev, R. Liran, and M. Kahan (surveying); A. Dagot (GPS mapping); P. Gendelman (scientific consultation); K. Sa'id and L. Talmi (organizational planning and support); Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), students from Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion universities and laborers from Wadi Ara.

FundersFunder number
Israel Antiquities AuthorityA-7223
Shikun Ovdim of the Shikun & Binui Group
Tel Aviv
Dan David Prize

    Keywords

    • Early Homo sapiens
    • Geula cave
    • Levallois technology
    • Luminescence dating
    • Middle paleolithic
    • Mt. carmel

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