News & AnalysisArchaeology

Did Neandertals Truly Bury Their Dead?

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Science  21 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6101, pp. 1443-1444
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6101.1443

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During excavations in the French Dordogne beginning more than 100 years ago, French archaeologists discovered the skeletons of seven Neandertals, including four children and infants, and the most complete adult Neandertal skull ever found. They concluded that all were deliberately buried, making this site pivotal to contentions that Neandertals had symbolic capacities. Until now, that is. New excavations at La Ferrassie are in part designed to reexamine this question, which many researchers had long thought was itself dead and buried.