Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh

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Entrance to Zuttiyeh cave, Galilee
A cast of the Galilee skull, Israel Museum[1]

Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh ("Cave of the Robbers")[2] is a prehistoric archaeological site in Upper Galilee, Israel.[3] It is situated 0.8 km from the Nahal Amud outlet, approximately 30 m above the wadi bed (148 m below sea level). It was found to house a fossil today known as the "Galilee skull" and "Galilee Man".[4] Discovered in 1925, the skull was the first ancient fossilised hominin (primitive man) found in Western Asia.[5] Its taxonomy is that of H. heidelbergensis,[6] and together with the remains found at Es Skhul and the Wadi el-Mughara Caves, were classified in 1939 by Arthur Keith and Theodore D. McCown as Palaeoanthropus palestinensis.[7][8][9]


Zuttiyeh cave is at the opening of a limestone ravine where Nahal Amud turns eastward, 250 meters above a smaller cave known as Mugharet el-Emireh (Cave of the Princess).[10]


The cave was excavated in 1925-1926 by Francis Turville-Petre.[6] It was the first paleontological excavation in the region.[11] Turville-Petre discovered a skull, referred to as the Galilee skull, that was initially described as the second Neanderthal-like specimen. It was originally attributed to a Mousterian level and is now thought to be from an earlier Acheulo-Yabrudian complex. Later studies showed that the face was relatively flat, with no evidence of Neanderthal-like facial prognathism.[6]

The frontal bone and part of the upper face were found in the Mugharan level, which leads to an estimate of the age of the fossil to range from 300-200 Ka BP. Similarities with Zhoukoudian remains suggest a possible ancestral relationship.[12]

The Galilee skull, along with many of Turville-Petre's findings, is housed in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem.[4][5] A cast of the skull is on display at the Israel Museum.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Israel Museum Permanent Exhibitions: Archaeology Wing – The Dawn of Civilization". New York: The Ridgefield Foundation. 1995. Skull (cast) Zuttiyeh Cave Lower Palaeolithic. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  2. ^ "A comprehensive morphometric analysis of the frontal and zygomatic bone of the Zuttiyeh fossil from Israel" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  3. ^ Human Evolution (2011-12-17). "The Zuttiyeh specimen from Israel, Galilee Skull". Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  4. ^ a b Rast, Walter E. (1992). Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology: An Introductory Handbook. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 50. ISBN 9781563380556. "Galilee man" (lowercase "m") in this source is a typo – ref. Solo Man, Peking Man and so forth. 
  5. ^ a b Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists, Getzel M. Cohen, Martha Joukowsky. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  6. ^ a b c Cartmill, Matt and Smith, Fred H. (2009). The Human Lineage. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471214914. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  7. ^ The Palaeolithic Origins of Human Burial, Paul Pettitt, 2013, p59
  8. ^ Human Adaptation in the Asian Palaeolithic: Hominin Dispersal and Behaviour during the Late Quaternary, Ryan J. Rabett, 2012, p90
  9. ^ The stone age of Mount Carmel : report of the Joint Expedition of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and the American School of Prehistoric Research, 1929-1934, p18
  10. ^ The Mugharet el-Emireh in Lower Galilee: Type-Station of the Emiran Industry, Dorothy Garrod
  11. ^ "Excavations in Wadi Amud". Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  12. ^ USA (2013-03-25). "Zuttiyeh face: A view from the East". PMID 8333489. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°51′21″N 35°31′38″E / 32.855797°N 35.527210°E / 32.855797; 35.527210