EXHIBITS: Home, Sweet Cave

Science  12 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5775, pp. 821
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5775.821e

Available: Roomy hillside hideaway with commanding views of France's Tautavel Valley; earth floors; stone ceilings; spacious common area great for butchering and tool-making; convenient to game trails, flint deposits.

These amenities first drew early humans to the Arago cave in southern France nearly 700,000 years ago. At this online exhibit, part of a series on archaeological sites from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, you can visit the cave and get to know its former tenants. The beetle-browed Homo erectus who moved into the cave—including the famous 450,000-year-old Tautavel man—may have been the ancestors of the Neandertals. The exhibit follows how human use of the cave changed over time, from a temporary hunting camp to a permanent home. Pop-up windows offer a close look at the troglodytes' tool kit of stone scrapers, choppers, and serrated denticulates for slicing flesh.


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