Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave

  • Emma Pomeroy (a1), Paul Bennett (a2) (a3), Chris O. Hunt (a4), Tim Reynolds (a5), Lucy Farr (a1), Marine Frouin (a6), James Holman (a2), Ross Lane (a2), Charles French (a1) and Graeme Barker (a7)...

Abstract

Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan became an iconic Palaeolithic site following Ralph Solecki's mid twentieth-century discovery of Neanderthal remains. Solecki argued that some of these individuals had died in rockfalls and—controversially—that others were interred with formal burial rites, including one with flowers. Recent excavations have revealed the articulated upper body of an adult Neanderthal located close to the ‘flower burial’ location—the first articulated Neanderthal discovered in over 25 years. Stratigraphic evidence suggests that the individual was intentionally buried. This new find offers the rare opportunity to investigate Neanderthal mortuary practices utilising modern archaeological techniques.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: ✉ eep23@cam.ac.uk

References

Hide All
Churchill, S.E., Franciscus, R.G., McKean-Peraza, H.A., Daniel, J.A. & Warren, B.R.. 2009. Shanidar 3 Neandertal rib puncture wound and Paleolithic weaponry. Journal of Human Evolution 57: 163–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.05.010
Constable, G. 1973. The Neanderthals. New York: Time-Life.
Cowgill, L.W., Trinkaus, E. & Zeder, M.A.. 2007. Shanidar 10: a Middle Paleolithic immature distal lower limb from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. Journal of Human Evolution 53: 213–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.04.003
Dibble, H.L., Aldeias, V., Goldberg, P., McPherron, S.P., Sandgathe, D. & Steele, T.E.. 2015. A critical look at evidence from La Chapelle-aux-Saints supporting an intentional Neandertal burial. Journal of Archaeological Science 53: 649–57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.019
Fu, Q. et al. 2015. An early modern human from Romania with a recent Neanderthal ancestor. Nature 524: 216–19. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14558
García-Martínez, D., Radovčić, D., Radovčić, J., Cofran, Z., Rosas, A. & Bastir, M.. 2018. Over 100 years of Krapina: new insights into the Neanderthal thorax from the study of rib cross-sectional morphology. Journal of Human Evolution 122: 124–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.05.009
Gargett, R.H. 1989. Grave shortcomings: the evidence for Neandertal burial. Current Anthropology 30: 157–90. https://doi.org/10.1086/203725
Gargett, R.H. 1999. Middle Palaeolithic burial is not a dead issue: the view from Qafzeh, Saint-Césaire, Kebara, Amud and Dederiyeh. Journal of Human Evolution 37: 2790. https://doi.org/10.1006/jhev.1999.0301
Goldberg, P., Aldeias, V., Dibble, H., McPherron, S., Sandgathe, D. & Turq, A.. 2017. Testing the Roc de Marsal Neandertal ‘burial’ with geoarchaeology. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9: 1005–15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-013-0163-2
Gómez-Olivencia, A., Quam, R., Sala, N., Bardey, M., Ohman, J. & Balzeau, A.. 2018. La Ferrassie 1: new perspectives on a ‘classic’ Neandertal. Journal of Human Evolution 117: 1332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.12.004
Green, R.E. et al. 2010. A draft sequence of the Neandertal genome. Science 328: 710–22. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1188021
Henry, A.G., Brooks, A.S. & Piperno, D.R.. 2011. Microfossils in calculus demonstrate consumption of plants and cooked foods in Neanderthal diets (Shanidar III, Iraq; Spy I and II, Belgium). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108: 486–91. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1016868108
Inglis, R.F., French, C., Farr, L., Hunt, C.O., Jones, S.C., Reynolds, T. & Barker, G.. 2018. Soil micromorphology and site formation processes during the Middle to Later Stone Ages at the Haua Fteah Cave, Cyrenaica, Libya. Geoarchaeology 33: 328–48. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21660
Kuhlwilm, M. et al. 2016. Ancient gene flow from early modern humans into eastern Neanderthals. Nature 530: 429–33. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature16544
Leroi-Gourhan, A. 1975. The flowers found with Shanidar IV, a Neanderthal burial in Iraq. Science 190: 562–64. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.190.4214.562
Pettitt, P. 2002. The Neanderthal dead: exploring mortuary variability in Middle Palaeolithic Eurasia. Before Farming 2002: 126. https://doi.org/10.3828/bfarm.2002.1.4
Pettitt, P. 2011. The Palaeolithic origins of human burial. London: Routledge.
Pomeroy, E., Mirazón Lahr, M., Crivellaro, F., Farr, L., Reynolds, T., Hunt, C.O. & Barker, G.. 2017. Newly discovered Neanderthal remains from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan, and their attribution to Shanidar 5. Journal of Human Evolution 111: 102–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.07.001
Power, R.C., Salazar-García, D.C., Rubini, M., Darlas, A., Harvati, K., Walker, M., Hublin, J.-J. & Henry, A.G.. 2018. Dental calculus indicates widespread plant use within the stable Neanderthal dietary niche. Journal of Human Evolution 119: 2741. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.02.009
Prüfer, K. et al. 2017. A high-coverage Neandertal genome from Vindija Cave in Croatia. Science 358: 655–58. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao1887
Rendu, W. et al. 2014. Evidence supporting an intentional Neandertal burial at La Chapelle-aux-Saints. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 111: 8186. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1316780110
Reynolds, T., Boismier, W., Farr, L., Hunt, C.O., Abdulmultalb, D. & Barker, G.. 2015. New investigations at Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. Antiquity Project Gallery 89(348). Available at: http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/barker348 (accessed 30 October 2019).
Riel-Salvatore, J. & Clark, G.A.. 2001. Grave markers: Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic burials and the use of chronotypology in contemporary Paleolithic research. Current Anthropology 42: 449–79. https://doi.org/10.1086/321801
Saers, J., Shaw, C., Pomeroy, E., Ryan, T. & Stock, J.. 2017. Talar trabecular structure strongly correlates with locomotor mode and terrestrial mobility level in modern humans, nonhuman apes, and a Neandertal. Proceedings of the European Society for Human Evolution 6: 166.
Sandgathe, D.M., Dibble, H.L., Goldberg, P. & McPherron, S.P.. 2011. The Roc de Marsal Neandertal child: a reassessment of its status as a deliberate burial. Journal of Human Evolution 61: 243–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2011.04.003
Smirnov, Y. 1989. Intentional human burial: Middle Paleolithic (last glaciation) beginnings. Journal of World Prehistory 3: 199233. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00975761
Solecki, R.S. 1953. The Shanidar Cave sounding, 1953 season, with notes concerning the discovery of the first Paleolithic skeleton in Iraq. Sumer 9: 229–32.
Solecki, R.S. 1955. Shanidar cave, a Paleolithic site in northern Iraq. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution: 389425.
Solecki, R.S. 1960. Three adult Neanderthal skeletons from Shanidar Cave, northern Iraq. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, publication 4392: 603–35.
Solecki, R.S. 1961. New anthropological discoveries at Shanidar, northern Iraq. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 23: 690–99. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2164-0947.1961.tb01403.x
Solecki, R.S. 1963. Prehistory in Shanidar Valley, northern Iraq. Science 139: 179–93. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.139.3551.179
Solecki, R.S. 1971. Shanidar: the first flower people. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
Solecki, R.S. 1972. Shanidar: the humanity of Neanderthal man. London: Penguin.
Solecki, R.S. 1975. Shanidar IV, a Neanderthal flower burial in northern Iraq. Science 190: 880–81. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.190.4217.880
Sommer, J.D. 1999. The Shanidar IV ‘flower burial’: a re-evaluation of Neanderthal burial ritual. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 9: 127–29. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774300015249
Stewart, T.D. 1969. Fossil evidence of human violence. Trans-action 6: 4853. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03180881
Stewart, T.D. 1977. The Neanderthal skeletal remains from Shanidar Cave, Iraq: a summary of findings to date. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 121: 121–65.
Tattersall, I. & Schwartz, J.H.. 1998. Morphology, paleoanthropology and Neanderthals. The Anatomical Record 253(4): 113–17. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0185(199808)253:4<113::AID-AR6>3.0.CO;2-U
Trinkaus, E. 1983. The Shanidar Neandertals. New York: Academic. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-700550-8.50011-1
Trinkaus, E. & Villotte, S.. 2017. External auditory exostoses and hearing loss in the Shanidar 1 Neandertal. PLoS ONE 12: e0186684. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186684
Vandermeersch, B., Cleyet-Merle, J.J., Jaubert, J., Maureille, B. & Turq, A.. 2008. Première humanité: gestes funéraires des néandertaliens. Paris: Musée National de Préhistoire.

Keywords

New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave

  • Emma Pomeroy (a1), Paul Bennett (a2) (a3), Chris O. Hunt (a4), Tim Reynolds (a5), Lucy Farr (a1), Marine Frouin (a6), James Holman (a2), Ross Lane (a2), Charles French (a1) and Graeme Barker (a7)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed