By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
The Carmel Caves in northern Israel have been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a heritage site in a special ceremony on the Carmel yesterday (Oct. 29). The caves were recognized for the exceptional per-historic archeological findings found in the caves which represent at least 500,000 years of human evolution.
The Carmel Caves join the White City of Tel-Aviv, the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba, the Incense Route and Desert Cities in the Negev, the Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee, Masada and the Old City of Acre as the seventh site to be recognized as a UNESCO Heritage site in Israel.
The World Heritage List includes 981 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 759 cultural, 193 natural and 29 mixed properties in 160 States Parties. As of September 2012, 190 States Parties have ratified the World Heritage Convention.
The four caves are situated on the western slopes of the Mount Carmel range. Ninety years of archaeological research have revealed a cultural sequence of unparalleled duration, providing an archive of early human life in south-west Asia. The findings contain cultural deposits representing at least 500,000 years of human evolution demonstrating the unique existence of both Neanderthals and Early Anatomically Modern Humans within the same Middle Palaeolithic cultural framework, the Mousterian. Evidence from numerous Natufian burials and early stone architecture represents the transition from a hunter-gathering lifestyle to agriculture and animal husbandry. As a result, the caves have become a key site of the chrono-stratigraphic framework for human evolution in general, and the prehistory of the Levant in particular.