The Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve has recently been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the reserve is the site of caves and rock dwellings with exposed fossilized reefs which testify to the continual human inhabitation of the settlement from prehistoric times.
It is a global rarity to find proof of continual inhabitation in one location by a series of civilizations over an extended period beginning in the Lower Paleolithic era. Burial sites of both Neanderthal and Early Anatomy Modern Humans have been uncovered. This shows the dramatic change in human existence from the hunter-gatherer to the sedentary agricultural lifestyle.
Not only the human inhabitation but also the historic geological evidence in this group of 5 caves is remarkable. The fact that the site is so significant for studies in human evolution both biologically and culturally as well as the palaeo-ecological significance has made this site worthy of its new status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nahal Me’arote is situated on Mount Carmel’s western slope and was the first Israeli site to achieve this distinction since 1989 and follows an intense campaign to gain recognition. This newfound status could increase the annual visitor statistics from the mainly local 50,000 visitors to include more international tourists.