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The particular geographic position at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasiaandthemixedlandscapeof hillyareasandintermontanevalleysnexttothe Medi- terranean Seacreatedanecosystemsuitableforhumanhabitationsincethe Early Pleisto- cene.

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During the same period ESR, TL, and Amino Acid Racemization readings were obtained in sitessuch as Qafzeh, Kebara, Tabun, Amud, Tor Faraj, Tor Sabiha, and Ain Di- fla. Sincethelastcentury,ithasbeenthemorerecenthistoricalpastthathasattracted Europeanscholarsfromdifferent countriestothe Levant. Archaeologicalprojectsfirst be- ganintheregionduringtheearlypartof thenineteenthcentury,butsystematicstudyof theprehistoricremainswasinitiatedonlyafterthe First World War. Duringthe“Golden Age” of Near Eastern archaeology, between the two world wars,numerous large-scale ex- cavationsof prehistoricsiteswerecarriedout. Technologicalandty- pologicalstudiesdeveloped thesequenceof the Mousterianindustriesin Tabun Caveas a basis for relative cultural chronology. Other investigations stressed the potential of recog- nizingsettlementpatternsthatincludehuntingcamps,quarrysites,andtherelationship between the time-trajectory of metrical attributes of artifactsandhuman evolution. Neandertals and Modern Humansin Western Asia Neandertals and Modern Humans in Western Asia Edited by Takeru Akazawa International Research Center for Japanese Studies Kyoto, Japan Kenichi Aoki Universityof Tokyo Tokyo, Japan and Ofer Bar-Yosef Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts KLUWER ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS NEW YORK, BOSTON, DORDRECHT, LONDON, MOSCOW e Book ÌSBN:0-306-47153-1 Print ÌSBN: 0-306-45924-8 ©2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London, Moscow Print ©1998 Plenum Publishers New York All rights reserved No part of this e Book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without written consent from the Publisher Created in the United States of America Visit Kluwer Online at: Kluwer's e Bookstore at: Researchinrecent years placed Western Asiain a centralpositionconcerning thede- bateontheoriginof modernhumans.

It is not surprising that this region occupies a special place in human evolution.

Theorganizerswouldliketothankthe Universityof Tokyo,the International Re- search Center for Japanese Studies, and the American School of Prehistoric Research (Pe- abody Museum, Harvard University)forprovidingthefundsfortheeditingofthis volume.

Wewouldalso liketothank David Pilbeamforhiscommentsonmanyof the papers and Naomi Ornstein for her work completing the task.

Onthebasisof mitochondrialandnuclear genetics,modernhumansare consideredtohaveoriginatedinsub-Saharan Africa. Humanremainsfrom Qafzehand Skhulare oftencited as supportive evidence of thisidea.

At thesame time, queries concern- ingthedateof Levantine Neandertalsarenotyetfullyresolved.

Both the newfossil relics and the ones discovered in the past raised numerous issues ontwofronts:theapproximatetaxonomicstatusof thesehumans;andthepossiblerela- tionshipsbetweenthosetraditionallyclassifiedas Neandertalsandthemodernhumans thatwerealsonamed as“proto-Cro-Magnons.”Disagreementsconcerningtaxonomicand paleobehavioralaspectsmadeitobviousthatinvestigatorsfromdifferentcountriesand variousschoolsneededtomeettodiscussthemostupdatedresultsof theirscientificin- quiries.