Shuqba’s Cave

 

Shuqba’s cave is located 20 kilometers north of Ramallah, on the northern side to An-Natouf Valley to the east of Shuqba village, more specifically on the western part of Jerusalem’s hills.

The cave is considered a model location for the globally recognized Natufian civilization. This civilization was built on an economy of collecting and hunting before the agricultural phase of domesticating plants and animals as part of the stable life style.

The cave was formed due to Karst activity and was discovered by the scientist Malone in 1924. Dorothy Gardu administrated an excavation in the cave tracing a civilization that dates back to the unexplored late Stone Age, which is the Natufian Civilization that the valley was named after.

The cave itself is one of the biggest caves in Palestine opening up to huge room (18 meters in diameter) with two chimneys and three side rooms. Excavations illustrated the topographical history of the location indicating two prehistorically eras in the place; upper Mousterian and upper Natufian eras with evidence of usage since early Bronze Age.

The remains from the upper Mousterian era include weapons, shrapnel, handmade axes, round tools, and drills. There were also blades of granite sickles used for harvesting wild seeds and hay. The Nutfian remains are clues that the production mechanism was based on excessive hunting and collecting of wild seeds through a collaborative process before the agricultural era.