Prehistoric Trip To The Caves Of The First Man

May 12, 2021
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2 mins read

Getting outside of the city and a bit further away from Tel Aviv, as a day trip or on the way for further travels in the north of Israel, you can stop in Nahal Me’arot. A prehistoric site and much more.

It’s an archeological site with a few trails around it to choose from. Nahal Me’arot has a few caves in it that are very important to our knowledge about prehistory in Israel and in general. In those caves excavators found remains of homo sapiens and neanderthals at the same spot and it’s the only place in the world with these findings!

Before this caves were excavated it was thought that neanderthals lived before the homo sapiens and with them, but not after them. In those caves, though, the neanderthal remains were found on a level above the Homo sapien remains, indicating that in this specific cave, the neanderthals lived there after the Homo sapiens, opposite to what was thought. That’s one of the reasons why those caves and their findings are so important.

We visited there after I had just finished a prehistory class in the university and I was so excited to see things that I was studying about in real life. We came there early in the morning at COVID times so we got to have the whole place almost to ourselves and it was amazing.

Going to the caves you have to climb not a small number of stairs and it was a great way to wake us up. slowly making our way up, we could see the land around us being slowly revealed and we were able to see further and further. The surroundings are typical to the Mediterranean views, and the sea wasn’t too far as well.

Going up the stairs

The first cave is prehistorically the most important. you can see the different layers of digging and read what was found at each level and to what period it belonged to. Here the neanderthal and Homo sapien remains were found. After reading and learning you could turn around and enjoy the view.

The second cave was a reenactment of the cave men’s life. You can see a man and a woman preparing their meal – a dear being roasted on the fire, some other fruit and vegetables and the hand tools they used.

Next to the third cave we saw the remains of the natufian culture, a much more advanced culture. They had burial ceremonies, they were eating wild plants and they had better settlements. This cave was pretty big and in it’s entrance there were a few buttons for different languages. We knew that there should be a movie here so we pressed the English one, but we definitely weren’t prepared for what came next. A big rumble, a change in lights and the whole cave have transformed into a light and sound show of the story of the first men. slowly going in as the story progressed until we reached a little theatre area with a screen that kept the show going.

At the end of the movie we went back out and down to the last cave. Passing on the way two lizards that appeared as if they didn’t appreciated the disturbance. Here, outside of the shade of the trees and caves the heat was much more apparent, so we decided to finish our visit in this cave but there are more trails to do in this site on colder weather and for different seasons.

Mediterranean views

The last cave was more of a small niche in the wall but gave another great view of the surrounding and therefore was worth a visit. It also has a prehistoric importance because this is where they found a burial site for a few people which is very unique to the period they belonged to.

I think this site is definitely worth a short visit if it’s summer or a longer one in better weather and different seasons. The findings that were excavated here are really interesting and the story is perfectly presented to us. If you’re into prehistory, archaeology or just enjoy walking in nature this is great destination in almost the north of Israel!

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