A window into Early Middle Paleolithic human occupational layers: Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel

Ruth Gross, Reuven Yeshurun, M. Weinstein-Evron , A. Tsatskin, S. Weiner , A. Frumkin , Y. Zaidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, contains rich Early Middle Paleolithic (EMP) habitation layers. Sediments within a deep 1m2 sounding at the Upper Terrace of the site underwent detailed geoarchaeological analyses,coupled with techno-typological and taphonomic analyses of the archaeological material that enabled a focused look deep into the layers. While no significant temporal changes were observed in the lithic or faunal assemblages that for the most part represent EMP occupations, the caves’ configuration underwent major changes. The EMP sequence was deposited under the cave roof whose westward extension retreated gradually. We distinguished two main sedimentological cycles and possibly also occupational phases above either a massive rockfall or bedrock,
separated by a gap of undetermined duration that was, however, long enough to have created a distinct paleosurface. These cycles are related to major phases of cave collapse and it was only after the roof had fully fallen that the upper deposits were cemented as a result of rain water and exposure to the elements. Exceptional preservation of laminated vegetal tissues, found in the earlier cycle before the cave’s roof collapse, is associated with wood ash, burnt bones, and phytoliths. We tentatively suggest that this association constitutes the earliest evidence to date for bedding or matting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-228
StatePublished - 2012


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