Smuggler's Cave is clearly a site with tremendous potential
to address a number of important questions relating to Upper Pleistocene
adaptations and behavior. Among the most important of these are:
• What is the nature of the Mousterian and Aterian at this site and how does it differ from similarly aged materials from Egypt and Western Europe? Are there elements in the Middle Paleolithic of Morocco that make it appear more “modern,” or is it essentially a typical Middle Paleolithic industry that just happened to be made by more anatomically modern H. sapiens? Whatever the answer, it will have significant implications for understanding the relationship between different hominid species and their associated archaeological industries.
• What is the chronological sequence of the site? With the abundance of diverse dating material (burnt flint, teeth, charcoal) and its long sequence, Smuggler’s Cave offers a unique opportunity to firmly put both the Aterian and Iberomarusian in proper chronological context.
• What was the nature of the economy during the occupation of the site, including subsistence (both terrestrial and marine) and acquisition of raw materials?
• Is there any evidence for relations between these industries and what occurs in other regions, particularly to the east (Egypt and the Levant) and north (Western Europe)? It should be noted that the current research by the PI in these areas puts him in a unique position to address such relationships.
• Is there evidence for an in situ transition from the Aterian to the Upper Paleolithic?
• Finally, the presence of hearth features in Smuggler’s Cave, which is rare in sites of this period, will allow us to make comparison with similar features found in our excavations at Roc de Marsal and Pech de l'Azé IV, which may date to roughly the same time. Since hearths speak directly to the prehistoric use of space in the cave, these features permit behavioral reconstructions at precise moments in time.
In May 2007, we will start our excavations of the
Middle Paleolithic site of Smuggler’s Cave (Grotte des
Contrebandiers) in Témara, Atlantic coast, Morocco.
In addition to the excavations a small portion of the
team will conduct artifact analysis at the National
Museum of Archaeology in Rabat. Excavations will take
place from May 5th until June 2nd with a three-day
break from May 18th to May 20th.
We will have a 6-day workweek with a day of rest
falling on Friday for the first two weeks and switching
to Sunday for the last two weeks of the excavations.