Paleolithic animal remains in the Mount Carmel Caves: A review of the historical and modern research

Reuven Yeshurun, N. Marom (Editor), Reuven Yeshurun (Editor), L. Weissbrod (Editor), G. Bar-Oz (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper summarizes past and contemporary archaeofaunal research in the newly-inscribed World Heritage Site of Nahal Me‛arot (the Mount Carmel Caves) in Israel. The site, containing the caves of Tabun, Jamal, el-Wad, and Skhul, exhibits a long Lower Paleolithic to Epipaleolithic sequence, important Mousterian human fossils, and the first Natufian basecamp to be explored. Fieldwork in the caves commenced in 1928 and was shortly followed by Dorothea Bate’s seminal work on the fauna, setting a baseline for the Levant’s Pleistocene faunal succession. Bate’s results and interpretations have been discussed and contested or adopted ever since. The history of archaeofaunal research from the 1930s to the present is reviewed and the results are critically evaluated in light of recent research in the Levant. The evolution of archaeofaunal research at Nahal Me‛arot neatly summarizes global developments in Paleolithic faunal studies during the last eighty years. Ultimately, a Middle Paleolithic prey-choice pattern and the Natufian economic transition emerge out of these research efforts, as well as evidence for remarkable stability and resilience of Pleistocene paleoenvironments in the Mediterranean Levant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBones and Identity: Archaeozoological Approaches to Reconstructing Social and Cultural Landscapes in Southwest Asia
Place of PublicationOxford
StatePublished - 2016


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