Archaeologists Reopen Investigation of Early Humans at Manot Cave in Israel

Situated in the western Galilee region of present-day Israel, Manot Cave lies about 10 km north of the Hayonim Cave site and 50 km northeast of the well-known Mt. Carmel cave sites. Although less-known than the well-publicized prehistoric “sister” sites of Qafzeh and Kebara, the cave has recently yielded evidence of human occupation dated back to at least Upper Paleolithic times, when early modern humans and Neanderthals are suggested to have coexisted around the Mediterranean and further north into present-day Europe.
Adding to evidence uncovered at other similar locations, scientists hope that the finds of the cave will help elucidate the story of early modern human and Neanderthal existence in the Levant, and perhaps even help answer questions related to one possible stage in the spread of modern humans from Africa to Europe.

Now, a team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority, along with students and volunteers, will return to the cave site during the summer of 2013 and reopen an investigation that began first with a 2008 survey and 2010 excavation that turned up some promising signs. The finds are particularly significant in light of the fact that the cave was blocked by natural rockfall about 15,000 years ago, sealing it from further disturbance by any subsequent natural or human elements.

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