Taforalt or Grotte des Pigeons is a cave in the province of Berkane, Béni Iznasen region, Morocco, possibly the oldest cemetery in North Africa.
Taforalt was discovered by R. Waterbolk and W. Van Zeist who found evidence of preceramic habitation dating back to 12000 BCE making Taforalt potentially the oldest cemetery in North Africa. Taforalt is also one of the richest sites for information on early Homo sapiens in northwest Africa, with Taforalt being one of the most important sites shedding light on human evolution during the Ice Age outside of Europe.
Taforalt contains skeletal remains belonging to at least 80 human individuals as well as fossilized remains from a variety of fauna. Taforalt also has a large number of rock art depicting the extinct wild ass, equids and ostriches which may have been hunted by early humans. Rock art at Taforalt shows depictions of both single animals and hunting scenes with up to three levels depicting successively more hunters.
Taforalt has rock art depicting common animals of the Maghreb such as the Red deer, gazelle, and equids which were also found in other localities inhabited by early humans during this period. Taforalt 2 is the only known burial site at Taforalt that contains human remains dating to 12000 BCE making Taforalt 2 the oldest burial in Africa. Taforalt 2 has several characteristics distinguishing it from other burials at Taforalt including Taforalt 2 being less than half the size of Taforalt 1 and Taforalt 2 showing evidence that the body had been wrapped in leather before interment. Taforalt 3 is another burial found in Taforalt Cave which is dated to 11000 BCE making Taforalt 3 the second oldest burial in Africa. Taforalt 3 has evidence that the body had been wrapped in leather before interment.
The Taforalt site contains rock art depicting prehistoric animals such as ostriches, antelopes and equids which suggests that Taforalt’s inhabitants lived a nomadic lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Taforalt Cave
How much do you know about Taforalt Cave?
Taforalt Cave is an archaeological site located in the Rif mountain range, in the northeast of Morocco. The cave was discovered in 1961 and has since yielded evidence of human habitation dating back as early as 15,000 years ago. The cave contains a large number of skeletons, including some of the oldest known specimens of anatomically modern humans.
What is your favorite thing about Taforalt Cave?
My favorite thing about the Taforalt Cave is its long history and the archaeological evidence that it has preserved. The cave was inhabited by humans for over 20,000 years, and it’s one of the few places where you can see evidence of early human life in Morocco. I also love the natural beauty of the cave and its peaceful atmosphere. It’s a great place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Image Information: By Nicolas Perrault III – Own work, CC0, Link