Photo: Amud Cave in the rain

I hiked to Amud Cave today with Clive Finlayson. It’s a short hike on a well-marked trail, up the Wadi Amud. The word means “pillar”, and you can see the dramatic pillar of stone just beside the cave. It is a striking place, a beautiful gorge that eventually opens south into the Sea of Galilee.

Amud Cave, photographed in the rain

Amud has a Mousterian industry and a number of hominin skeletal remains, including an adult burial that many anthropologists call a Neandertal. Dating to 50,000-60,000 years ago or so, its skull and mandible do have many Neandertal characteristics. However it lacks many of the features of European Neandertals, and the rest of the skeleton doesn’t fit well in that group either.

We got caught in a thunderstorm at the site and had to high-tail it back down the wadi to the car, getting truly drenched in the process. Well worth it for the view!