Stone circles 176,500 years old – constructed by Neanderthals


Etienne Fabre/SSAC

Approximately 176,500 years ago, in a cave in what is now called France, Neanderthals cut 400 pieces of stalagmite into regular lengths and arranged them in two circles and four piles. In 1990, a teenager and a group of local cavers rediscovered them. Only now, though, have scientists estimated just how old they are—dating well beyond the history of Homo sapiens in this area.

This is one of the earliest examples of construction ever found, and the first example of Neanderthal construction that scientists have dated. It shows that these early homonins explored underground and could use fire and reveals an unknown aspect of their culture. It’s not clear what the circle of stones was used for, but it’s possible it had a ritual function, since there’s no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave.

The more we learn about Neanderthals, the smarter and more complex was their lifestyle, using fire, creating design art. All before the newer iteration of humans expanded into regions already populated by our older cousins.

4 thoughts on “Stone circles 176,500 years old – constructed by Neanderthals

  1. Wonmug says:

    “New evidence in search for the mysterious Denisovans” (University of Adelaide) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uoa-nei031921.php
    “Whichever way you choose to look at it, exciting times lie ahead in palaeoanthropology.”
    Dr João Teixeira, Lead author and ARC Research Associate from the University of Adelaide.
    “Widespread Denisovan ancestry in Island Southeast Asia but no evidence of substantial super-archaic hominin admixture” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01408-0

  2. p/s says:

    Genetic sequencing of human remains dating back 45,000 years has revealed a previously unknown migration into Europe and showed intermixing with Neanderthals in that period was more common than previously thought.
    The research is based on analysis of several ancient human remains – including a whole tooth and bone fragments – found in a cave in Bulgaria last year.
    Genetic sequencing found the remains came from individuals who were more closely linked to present-day populations in East Asia and the Americas than populations in Europe.
    “This indicates that they belonged to a modern human migration into Europe that was not previously known from the genetic record,” the research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, said. https://www.sciencealert.com/a-previously-unknown-human-migration-was-just-revealed-in-genetic-data
    See also “A genome sequence from a modern human skull over 45,000 years old from Zlatý kůň in Czechia” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01443-x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.