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Smuggler's Cave

The site of Contrebandiers is located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, along the coastal highway connecting Rabat and Casablanca. The cave site is 17 km from Rabat at about 270 meter from the sea and at 14 meter above the current sea level. The cave is formed in the ancient coastline sandstone rocks. This ancient coastline probably corresponds to the Ouljien period or OIS 5e at about 125 ka BP.

The cave was discovered in 1955 by Abbé Jean Roche who organized the first sounding in the cave from 1955 to 1957 led in the field by M. Henrion (Roche 1976, 1963, 1973). Then from 1967 to 1975 Roche and Texier continued excavation in collaboration with the Moroccan authorities (Roche and Texier 1976).In 1994, A. Bouzouggar opened the site again to increase lithic sample sizes for his dissertation and to re-examine the stratigraphy at the site (Bouzouggar 1997a, 1997b).

The site yielded important human remains. The second year of the original excavations a mandible was found in the Aterian layers. Initially, this mandible was attributed to the Acheulian (Vallois and Roche 1958;Roche 1976), but now it is clear the remains should be attributed to the Aterian (Hublin 1993; Debénath et al 1986; Debénath 2000; Ferembach 1998). Then in 1975 a human occipital and frontal fragment were found close to where the mandible was found in 1956. These remains also date to the Aterian period (Roche and Texier 1976; Ferembach 1976a; 1998; Ménard 1998; Saban 1998).

The site has deposits from the Neolithic, Iberomaurusian, Aterian, and Mousterian periods and is one of the rare sites with a long prehistoric cultural sequence in North Africa.

content provided by Utsav Schurmans from the Rapport D'Operations Pour l'Année 2006

The Stratigraphy(ies) for the Site->

History of Excavation The Stratigraphy DatesThe Neolithic Upper Paleolithic Middle Paleolithic Fauna Hominids