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Paleolithic Tabun Cave

Abstract: Recent excavations at the deeply stratified Late Pleistocene cave site of Tabun on Mount Carmel have yielded a long sequence of Middle and Lower Paleolithic industries and associated geological and environmental evidence that has important implications for the understanding of man's cultural and biological development in that period. An analysis of these materials strongly supports a continuity in cultural development at this site from about 130,000 to 50,000 years ago and suggests that a continuous biological evolution from Neanderthal to anatomically modern Homo sapiens took place in the southern Levant ...

Jelinek’s 1967-1972 excavations of Tabun Cave yielded over 1900 complete and partial bifaces. These bifaces come from a series of beds but the bulk of the assemblage can be attributed to the Late Acheulian and Yabrudian industries. This paper presents the results of a typological and technological study of variability in these bifaces. Patterns of biface manufacture and maintenance are sought. Particular emphasis is given to understanding the relationships between technology, raw materials, reduction intensity, and typology and to how these variables changed through time in the Tabun sequence ...

The Tabun Cave and Paleolithic Man in the Levant
JOURNAL: Science - New Series - Volume 216 - No. 4553
Arthur J. Jelinek (June 25, 1982) PAGES 1369-1375
***** Article (JSTOR) *****

The Tabun Cave (Cave of the Oven)

The Tabun Cave was occupied intermittently during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic ages (half a million to some 40,000 years ago). Excavation proved that it has one of the longest sequences of human occupation in the Levant.

The earliest deposits contain large amounts of sea sand. This and pollen traces found suggest a relatively warm climate. The melting glaciers which covered large parts of the globe caused the sea level to rise and the Mediterranean coastline to recede. The Coastal Plain was narrower than it is today and was covered with savannah vegetation. The cave dwellers used hand axes of flint or limestone for killing animals (gazelle, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and wild cattle which roamed the Coastal Plain) and for digging out plant roots. The tools improved slowly over a period of tens of thousands of years. The handaxes became smaller and better shaped and scrapers, made of thick flakes chipped off flint cores, were probably used for scraping meat off bones and for processing animal skins.

The material remains from the upper strata in the Tabun Cave are of the Mousterian culture (about 200,000 – 45,000 years ago) ...

The Tabun Cave contains a Neanderthal type burial of a female dated to about 120,000 years ago. It is one of the most ancient human skeletal remains found in Israel ...

Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium