Discovered in 1925, the skull was the first fossilized archaic human found in Western Asia.
Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh
Journalist and Historian
Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh (“Cave of the Robbers”) is a prehistoric archaeological site in Upper Galilee, Israel. It is situated 800 m (2,600 ft) from the Nahal Amud outlet, approximately 30 m (98 ft) above the wadi bed (148 m (486 ft) below sea level). It was found to house a fossil today known as the “Galilee skull” and “Galilee Man”.
Discovered in 1925, the skull was the first fossilised archaic human found in Western Asia. Together with the remains found at Es Skhul and the Wadi el-Mughara Caves, this find was classified in 1939 by Arthur Keith and Theodore D. McCown as Palaeoanthropus palestinensis. Today its taxonomy is that of Homo heidelbergensis.
Zuttiyeh cave is at the opening of a limestone ravine where Nahal Amud turns eastward, 250 m (820 ft) above a smaller cave known as Mugharet el-Emireh (Cave of the Princess).
The cave was excavated from 1925 to 1926 by Francis Turville-Petre. It was the first paleontological excavation in the region. Turville-Petre discovered a skull, referred to as the Galilee Skull, that was initially described as the second Neanderthal-like specimen. It was originally attributed to a Mousterian stratum and is now thought to be from an earlier Acheulo-Yabrudian complex. Later studies showed that the face was relatively flat, with no evidence of Neanderthal-like facial prognathism.
The frontal bone and part of the upper face were found in the Mugharan level, which leads to an estimate of the age of the fossil to range from 200,000 to 500,000 years ago.  Similarities with Zhoukoudian remains suggest a possible ancestral relationship.
The Galilee skull, along with many of Turville-Petre’s findings, is housed in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem. A cast of the skull is on display at the Israel Museum.
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Originally published by Wikipedia, 03.16.2013, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.