Horses, fallow deer, rhinoceroses were foods of choice in prehistoric Ramle

Haifa University archaeologists dig up prehistoric remains near Ramle that date back to the Mousterian period.

The scene from an archaeological dig near Ramle (photo credit: TOMER APPELBAUM)
The scene from an archaeological dig near Ramle
(photo credit: TOMER APPELBAUM)
Horses, fallow deer, aurochs and rhinoceros were part of the human diet for those who lived in the area of present- day Ramle over 170,000 years ago, Haifa University scientists have discovered.
In excavations near Ramle, archeologists have uncovered some of the earliest remains of human settlement in the Middle East, estimating that the findings date back to the Paleolithic era.
The dig took place at the so-called Hector Site, and its findings were presented on Sunday by Dr. Yossi Zaidner, an archeology professor at Haifa University, who has overseen the excavation since 2010.
According to a recent article published in the Journal of Human Evolution, the findings suggest that the area was once inhabited by humans from the Mousterian period, which dates back to the Middle Paleolithic era.
The site was discovered in a karst indentation that reaches 34 meters deep. Zaidner says this discovery is extraordinary in that usually remains found in the Middle East from the Mousterian period are in caves rather than outdoors.
“The large number of bones that we found in an area so small fit the pattern that we have observed from the cave dwellers,” Zaidner said. “But in the caves the remains of small animals were discovered.
The bones of these large animals are more suited to open areas, but usually there were much fewer bones than what we saw now.”
“It seems we have found an area that combines the characteristics of caves with those of open-air camps,” Zaidner said.