Friday, January 29, 2010

Kebara Cave

This weekend is High School "Hockey Marathon" and bso and bdo are playing hockey for some 36 hours or so. This meant the boy would not me able to join me on Saturday morning for our usual outing. So I decided to take blackbrotherinlawo (lets call him Ari for argument sake) along. I have wanted to check out the Kebara Cave ever since I went to the slightly disappointing Carmel Caves a few months back.

The Kebara Cave is rather special. It was occupied in the Middle Paleolithic (60000 - 48000 years ago) and then again in the Natufian period (12500-10200 years back). The cave is particularly famous for an almost complete Neanderthal skeleton found there in 1982. They named him "Moshe". They also found a Natufian burial pit in which 17 adults had been buried. I knew the cave itself was blocked off, but I was interested in looking at the surrounding environment now that I'm studying landscape archaeology (no bwo, it's not the archaeology of gardens!). I wasn't disappointed.

The trail to the cave starts in the Ramat HaNadiv park between Benymina and Zichron Yaakov. It's a very nice place with some good hiking trails. The "green" trail we took to the cave was quite steep in parts and required some climbing.
The Rafafot are out in force. Nature gave us the complete show. It was wonderful. Lots of green and color.
This is the "nose of the Carmel" range. The Kebara stream (dry even now after the heavy rains of late) runs down the valley you see. The cave is low down on the other side of the valley.
The path is excellently well marked (green markers all along) and we only got lost once. There are parts that are quite steep, like the rock face above. But we loved it all.
The rock faces have interesting markings. Not sure what that black stuff is, possibly some sort of moss or mineral or something. Still, it makes nice patterns.
The is bbilo (Ari) surveying one of the smaller caves on the side of the mountain near the Kebara cave itself. There are a few of these.
I had to include this picture of the Kebara cave itself. I know there is not much to see, as it's fenced off with razor wire and gates. We could hear all sorts of birds calling inside. Ari thought they were bats, but I always thought bats were silent (at least during the day), sounded like pigeons to me.
We walked back up the mountain along the river bed. From time to time we came across these pools of standing water. Great for the mosquitoes, who feasted on us.
As we came back to the Ramat HaNadiv park, we passed large cages filled with serious birds-of-prey. These are apparently acclimatization cages for injured birds-of-prey. They have some very big birds. This chap was just sitting at the top of his cage and pining for the fjords. Believe me, these are some serious cages with some serious birds.
Ari really liked this tree.
As we neared the car park, we came upon a typical Israeli scene. This is a school tiyul (field trip). They brought the class to come paint the poppies. That's a pile of easels you see in the middle there. Most interesting are the fathers standing around the edge. They do these tiyulim on Friday so that the fathers (who work Sunday through Thursday) can accompany the kids. They really look like they are having big fun, don't they.

All in all at great time was had by both of us. The banana-chocolate muffin my sister-in-law sent was perfect with the coffee which was made with the now perfectly repaired gaziah.

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