Remembering a sacred place – The depositional history of Hilazon Tachtit, a Natufian burial cave

Hadas Goldgeier*, Natalie D. Munro, Leore Grosman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hilazon Tachtit Cave served as a cemetery for at least 28 individuals and an arena for interment rituals and other activities. The nature of the activities in the cave, their frequency and their recurrence over time, demonstrate that this site was an important sacred place on the Late Natufian (ca. 12,000 cal. BP) landscape of the western Galilee of Israel. Using a GIS-based approach, we examine the distribution and density of small flint chips and other microartifacts within the site to ascertain the location, timing and intensity of activities. From this, we reconstruct the depositional history and the order of burial and ritual events in the cave. We then explore the role of collective memory in the formation and continued use of the cave as a unique cemetery. Our results show that the memory of the initial burial event shaped the future use of the cave, its importance as a site for human burial and ritual performance, and its place as a sacred locale for the Late Natufian community.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101111
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cemetery
  • Epipaleolithic
  • GIS
  • Hilazon Tachtit Cave
  • Late Natufian
  • Social memory
  • Southern Levant
  • Spatial analysis


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