Neanderthal Burial

Homo neanderthalensis had peculiar behaviors towards burials. Studies show they believed in supernatural agents( as ancestors, spirits or gods). In this picture you can see the neanderthal grave in the Kebara Cave in Isreal dated to be from 60,000 B.C. The crushed skull or missing of it may be because of special rituals made to the head.

Did Neanderthals Believe in an Afterlife?

A burial discovery shows that there is a possibility that neanderthals practiced certain rituals when a loved one died and they had the symbolic mentality in such early days in history. In Sima de las Palomas, located in Spain, a 50,000 year-old Neanderthal burial ground was found. It included the remains of three individuals. The interesting fact is that is thought they were buried purposefully because their arms were folded close to the head. This was not the only burial which Neanderthals were positioned that way, which means they conducted burials almost like we do presently. Another interesting fact is that they came back to visit the deceased because their tools, remains of food and the signs of fires being lit was present.

Neanderthal’s Burial Method

Neanderthals would intentionally bury their deceased loved ones by placing rocks over them. The presence of panther paws that were embedded in the rocks, possibly having an important meaning.

Other Evidence
There was evidence of a flower burial from 60,000 years ago at the Shanidar Cave in Iraq. Of the nine Neanderthal skeletons that were found, there was one that possibly had botanical remains.
How do Scientists Analyze their Findings?

They analyze their Neanderthal findings by first determining if the places were they are found were intentionally buried for a burial, to do so the study of strata, the layers of soil, is studied. Secondly, they analyze the location of the burial, whether the remains were dragged by animals or if they were safe from animals. If found in the middle of the cave, then it is more likely it was an intentional burial. Third, scientists look to see if the bodies are articulated. Lastly, they look for personals items and grave goods from other Neanderthals.


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