Neanderthals Built Mystery Cave Rings 175,000 Years Ago
Surprise! Neanderthals weren’t just more sophisticated than you thought. They also built structures deep inside caves.
Etienne FABRE – SSAC
They painted magnificent cave paintings. They mastered fire and used tools. And now we know they constructed complex buildings deep within subterranean caves, and they did it more than 175,000 years ago. No, we’re not talking about early humans. Neanderthals did all this.
A team of archaeologists led by Jacques Jaubert at the University of Bordeaux in France has just completed an archaeological examination of a mysterious find: the rubble of two ancient Neanderthal-made buildings meticulously crafted from stalagmites. The site is located 1,000 feet into a dark, twisting cave 30 miles outside what is now Toulouse in southwestern France. The discovery is the first of its kind and, the researchers say, radically alters the understanding of Neanderthal culture. Jaubert’s team outlines their exploration today in a paper in the journal Nature.
“Because Neanderthals were the only [human-related primate] group present in western Europe at that time, the discovery provides the first directly dated evidence for Neanderthals’ construction abilities. It also shows that Neanderthals explored underground,” writes Marie Soressi, archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands (not involved in Jaubert’s archaeological examination), in an essay accompanying the study.