Israel Hershkovitz

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Tel Aviv U.

Grant number

Gr. 9679

Approve Date

April 30, 2018

Project Title

Hershkovitz, Dr. Israel, Tel Aviv U., Tel Aviv, Israel - To aid research on 'New Perspectives on Middle Paleolithic Human Populations in the Southern Levant: The View from Tinshemet Cave'

Preliminary abstract: Tinshemet Cave is a recently excavated prehistoric site in central Israel. The first full season of excavation (August 2017) revealed abundant evidence for human presence during the Middle Paleolithic (MP) as well as two fully articulated hominin skeletons, a child 3-6 years old and an adult (see figures 1 and 2), and an isolated tooth of a third individual. This is one of the very few sites to yield fully articulated hominin skeletons in a Mousterian context since the large excavations undertaken at the Mount Carmel caves in the 1930’s, and Amud, Qafzeh and Kebara caves in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.The study of these hominins and their material culture, symbolic behavior, subsistence strategy as well as their relationships with other hominin groups may provide a wealth of new information on the paleobiology of the Middle Paleolithic populations in this region, and will help establishing a secure chronological framework for the MP Levantine fossil record. The project is planned for 3 years (1918-19-20). The first year is aimed at excavating in the areas where the skeletons were discovered (Figure 3), excavating the adult skeleton at the site (in breccias) and removing it on-bloc to the preservation laboratory for further cleaning and studying, establishing the archaeological stratigraphy and dating the archaeological layers (Aug. 2018-2019). During the years 2019-20, we will continue excavating the site and expand the excavation deep into the cave.