14000 year old skeletons
Casablanca – Raja Battaoui
Two human skeletons aged between 7,000 and 14,000 years old have been discovered by Moroccan researchers.
According to Abdullah Saleh, director of the directorate of heritage in the Ministry of Culture,
the archeological discoveries in Lhalov Caves, near Taoujdate have not been thoroughly analysed yet. More in-depth studies are currently ongoing which will give more detailed information on the subject.
Lhalov cave (which translates as “Pork cave”) bears this name because of the many wild bores present in the area.
The head of excavation team Abdel Salam Miqdad said it is an important discovery. One of the skeletons goes back to a period between the Neolithic period and the Stone Age. The excavations led to the discovery of two layers of rock inside the cave, the upper layer dating from the Stone Age, the second one dating from the Neolithic period.
Miqdad revealed that each of the skeletons was found in one of the two layers. The first was found buried in the upper layer, in a sitting position inside a narrow hole. The lower limbs were in squatting position, which shows very rare burial rituals. The second skeleton was found in the lower layer buried on his right side in an oval shaped hole.
The team discovered the cave last year and started the excavations this year. They are supposed to complete their work next week. They are supposed to continue the excavations inside this cave and other caves next year, according to Miqdad.
On the other hand, Miqdad revealed that the Middle Atlas region, where the excavations are taking place (which include Tmhoudet, Azo, Ifrane and El Hajeb) has 52 caves. Out of the 52 caves, 29 contains traces which indicate that the area was inhibited during the ancient eras. But it also reveals that humans would only settle in the mountain during the summer, while they would spend the rest of the year in the valley.
The next few months might reveal that Morocco has a much older civilization that what was initially thought.
Abdullah Saleh said that this great archeological heritage will serve universities in Morocco and that students in archeology will be able to take part in the research.
The importance of this discovery mainly shows that there was no real cultural gap between the Stone Age, the Modern Age.
The excavations took place also in the area of Khemisset which led to the discovery of remains of skeletons which dated between 4000 and 2000 BC. But they are not considered the oldest human remains: the ones discovered in Sidi Abderrahmane site in Casablanca suburbs are the oldest so far. It is probable that the continuous excavations, specially in East Morocco, will reveal scientific surprises in the future.