We thank all those who attended the conference for their lively participation as well as the contributors to the volume for their dedication and patience. While editing the volume we faced the need to homogenize certain terminologies and spellings that recur throughout the various contributions. Thesuccessofthisconferenceandtherapidlyaccumulatingdatasetsafter1990 madeitclearthatanothermeetingwasdesired. Wethereforeinvitedalargenumberof colleaguestotakepartinameetingthatconvenedatthe University Museumof the Uni- versityof Tokyoin November1995. In the meantime,it had becomeevident that theim- plications of the current debate on the evolution of modern humans and thedisappearance of the Neandertals reachfar beyond the geographic boundaries of western Asia andindeed thedisciplinaryboundariesof traditionalanthropologyandarchaeology. Althoughnoscholars pro- pose that Neandertals are native to western Asia,a fewsuspect that they never evenreached theregion. Hence,itappearsthat thehumanfossilsand their archaeologicalcontexts,asre- vealedby Levantinesites,playamajorroleinourunderstandingof theintricaterelation- shipsbetween Neandertalsandtheir contemporaries. Chris Stringer The Chronologyof the Middle Paleolithicof the Levant.
Faunalanalyses produced improved data sets concerning past humandiets and hunting techniques,in addition to the traditional reconstruction of past environments. Through these projects it became obvious that the Mousterian chronology was longer thanhad ever beensuspected. Other keyachievementsin recent years deserve to bementionedas well. 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.
Carmelandthere- newalof theexcavationsat Hayonim Cave;thecompletionof theexcavationsat Amud Caveandthediscoveryof additionalhumanremainsthere;andtheexcavationsof the Mousterianrocksheltersandcavesinsouthern Jordansuchas Tor Faraj, Tor Sabihaand Ain Difla.