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Jebel Qafzeh Cave

Selected Excerpt on Jebel Qafzeh

The Neolithic of the Levant -- Page 8
A. M. T. Moore -- Oxford University

STONE AGE REFERENCE COLLECTION Qafzeh is a cave site in Mount Qafzeh in Israel which is twenty meters wide and twelve meters deep. Within this cave twenty-four layers of rock containing limestone, breccias and stalagmitic have been described. The first human remains were discovered in 1933 when a scientist named Neuville uncovered the remains of two separate ancient humans. By 1977 both adult and infant remains were found. Portions of eleven different individuals were excavated. The best preserved skull is Qafzeh 6. From the basis of the skull and teeth structure it is said to be that of a young male.

The stone tools discovered at the site were of the Levallois-Mousterian type which consist of side scrapers, disc cores and points which are frequently associated with Neanderthal remains. The animal remains at the site consisted of horse, rhinoceros, fallow deer, wild ox and gazelle. The remains of the site show affinities that lie nearer to modern Homo sapiens than to the Classic Neanderthal. This taxononmy of the remains contradicts an older view that only Neanderthal man was responsible for Mousterian tools. The skulls at Qafzeh have a more distinct structure to them than from most of the skulls found around that time. The skulls at Qafzeh have a more modern vault shape and facial form. They are also very similar to the skulls found in Ethiopia and Africa because they both lack the diagnostic features of most cranium found.

Currently the dates of the bones from Qafzeh have been dated to be 100,000 years old. From the dates and geographic location it is thought that modern humans originated in Africa even earlier than this and spread out through the rest of the old world where these remains were found. This site is important because of the bones dating back some 100,000 years. This puts into question how modern man evolved. It shows that unlike previously thought the Neanderthal man and modern man were living at the same time period ...

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium