Day: May 28, 2024


Mount Carmel is a limestone hill rising just over 500 meters above sea level on the Mediterranean coast of northern Israel, near Haifa. Its caves have provided valuable information, especially during excavations conducted between 1929 and 1934 by Dorothy Garrod in the Tabun and Skhul caves.
In Tabun cave, Garrod and her team unearthed a stratigraphic sequence spanning a wide chronological range. Among the most notable discoveries is the nearly complete skeleton of Tabun 1, assigned to an adult  Neanderthal female with an estimated chronology of 120,000 years. She was found lying on her left side in a pit dug into the cave floor. It is considered one of the oldest Neanderthal burials in the fossil record. Tabun 2 is a mandible interpreted as belonging to a male individual.
Just a few meters from Tabun lies the cave of Skhul, where Garrod’s team found numerous pits excavated in the floor of the cave’s vestibule, containing 10 individuals, including adults and children, but with a crucial difference: they were not Neanderthals, but Homo sapiens. Although the individuals at Skhul shared geographic proximity and a similar archaeological context with those at Tabun, their anatomy marked a distinction.
These findings raise significant questions about the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens in the region, suggesting the potential for coexistence and interaction between the two species.