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Tabor: in prehistory & name

(by Teresa Petrozzi - translated by Raphael Bonanno ofm)


Although the conical form, almost hemispheric, of Tabor makes one think of a volcano, the mountain is made of strata of limestone which lay to the west on a lower clay strata and to the south and east on a neocenic layer. Towards the east a layer of pleistocenic basalt rests on top of the limestone and about 100 m below the plain that forms the summit there runs a vein of flintstone. It was this detail that brought the first human beings to Tabor.

In 1925 Mallon discovered on the western flank some fragments of instruments that could be dated to the first paleolithic period. In 1964 Stockton found man-made flints and decided that almost all of them came from the middle paleolithic period (about 70,000-40,000 BC) and from the upper paleolithic (about 35,000 - 15,000 BC). The arrangement of the pieces was worthy of note. A few lay in the upper caves, still natural in part and in part worked by human hands. This fact and the absolute lack of water-springs led to one conclusion: the caves had not been inhabited, at least not in the ordinary sense of the word.

On the contrary, the pieces were abundant in the stratum of flintstone, but few could be recognized as finished products. For the most part they were scraps. Stockton came to a second conclusion: the pre-historic man usually sought out his material on this mount, polished the pieces a little and then took home the half-finished products. The traces of human beings on the mountain, from the middle and upper paleolithic periods, remained so few and uncertain. Some fragments seemed to have come from the lower paleolithic time. Other finds, among which are some thin flint blades, could have come from the mesolithic period .

This very remote reach of antiquity was followed by a very long silence both in archaeology and in the literature. Tabor re-appears in history no more as a stone quarry but as a pagan sanctuary.


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Created / Updated Tuesday, December 18, 2001 at 18:23:15 by John Abela ofm
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