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  Mousterian (Neanderthal) Sites Mousterian (Neanderthal) Sites

Chapelle-aux-Saints - the Neanderthal / Neandertal skeleton



Chapelle-aux-Saints

A panoramic view of the area in which the skeleton was found.
The cave is the one furthest to the left, near the fence going up the hill. The plaque marking the site can just be seen through the fence.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008



Chapelle-aux-Saints

A recreation of the skeleton as found at Chapelle-aux-Saints

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints



La Ferrassie skeleton reconstruction





Reconstruction of the Neanderthal from La Chapelle aux Saints, ca 50 000 BP, and the Neanderthal child from Gibraltar 2, Devil's Tower, U.K., ca 50 000 - 30 000 BP.

Photo: Ralph Frenken
Source: Museum of Natural History, Vienna, Austria
Artist: Elisabeth Daynès, Paris




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The 12th Century church of La Chapelle-aux-Saints, near which the Neandertal skeleton was found, with a jaunty rooster weathervane on top.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008



Chapelle Aux Saints Chapelle Aux Saints

The Neanderthal skull found at Chapelle Aux Saints in situ.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008, original photograph by l'abbé Jean Bouyssonie

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

Views of the skull found at Chapelle Aux Saints after the discovery was published.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

The old man of Chapelle aux Saints

(note that this photo hase been altered from the original superb work of art by Claire Artemyz.
Here is the original - Don 
)

Photo: © Claire Artemyz, http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/memoires/index.php




Chapelle Aux Saints

Photograph of the original skull on display at the Museum.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Photograph on display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




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A recreation of the skeleton as it was found, using facsimiles.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




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A museum quality facsimile of the skull of the old man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Facsimile on display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints



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The cave in which the Neanderthal was found, from the outside (left, left centre) at the entrance (right centre) and further in (right).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Chapelle Aux Saints

The plaque at the entrance to the cave.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




The plaque reads:
En cette "Bouffia" Bonneval
Fut découvert et exhumé
Le 3 Août 1908
Par les Abbés Amédée et Jean Bouyssonie
Et leur frère Paul
Le squelette d'un homme "Moustérien"
Dit de "Néanderthal"
Legue au Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle

Manifestation du Cinquantenaire
3 Août 1958
La Societé Archéologique
de Brive




"Bouffia" means limestone cave in the local patois. The site still belongs to the Bonneval Family. The area is a National Monument now officially known as "Bouffia Bonneval".

The images and text below presumably came from the original scientific journal paper or book describing the discovery.

Chapelle Aux Saints
Fig. 1 (?)
Plan de l'entrée de la grotte

.......... limite des fouilles de la couche archéologique
------- contour de la fosse où a été trouvé le squelette


Plan of the entrance to the cave

.......... limits of the excavation of the archaeological layer
------- edge of the pit in which the skeleton was found


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints
Fig. 2 (?)
Cross Section labelled A - B in the plan above.

Légende

1 - Couche archéologique
2 - Argile
3 - Terre sablo-argileuse meuble
4 - Rocher (verite, pierrailles etc)
5 - Sol naturel
S - Squelette
1, 2, 3 Entièrement fouillé.


Legend

1 - Archaeological layer
2 - Clay
3 - Earth - loose sandy clay
4 - Rock (Rock forming the cave, large rocks, small stones etc.)
5 - Original soil, bedrock
S - Skeleton
1, 2, 3 fully excavated.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints
Fig. 3 - Coupe suivant CD. Mème légende que pour le plan, et, en plus, 6, couche de terre brûlée.

Cross Section labelled C - D in the plan above, with the same legend, but as well, 6, a layer of scorched earth.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints
Fig. 4 - Cross Section labelled E - F in the plan above.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




En avançant dans l'intérieur de la grotte, nous avons essayé de voir s'il y avait une variation dans l'outillage ou la faune. Nous avons simplement remarqué ceci: tout à l'entrée, dans une petite fosse creusée, semble-t-il, intentionnellement (fig 2 et 4), et sous des blocs gisait une corne de grand Bovidé, et, au-dessus ou autour, beaucoup de grands fragments d'os longs, de crâne et de vertèbres du même animal (un atlas complet, d'après M. Harlé); en arrière il n'y avait guère que du Renne, plus loin enfin, au-dessus de l'Homme, de nouveau du grand Boeuf. Puis la couche archéologique allait s'affaiblissant pour s'éteindre bientôt.

L'homme que nous avons trouvé a été intentionnellement enseveli. Il gisait au fond d'une fosse creusée dans le sol marneux de la grotte; ce sol de couleur blanche et dur à entamer, faisait contraste évident avec la couche archéologique. Cette fosse (fig 1, 2 et 3) était à peu près rectangulaire, large de 1 mètre, longue de 1m,45, profonde de 30 centimètres environ.

Le corps y était orienté à peu près E.-O., couché sur le dos, la tète à l'ouest, appuyée contre le bord de la fosse dans un coin et calée par quelques pierres. Le bras droit était probablement replié, ramenant la main vers la tête; le bras gauche était étendu. Les jambes aussi étaient repliées, et renversées sur la droite.

Au-dessus de la tête, étaient placés trois ou quatre grands fragments plats d'os longs; plus au dessus il y avait, encore en connexion, l'extrémité d'un métatarsien de grand Bovidé, les deux premières phalanges, et une deuxième. Preuve évidente que la patte avait été posée là avec sa chair - peut être pour la nourriture du mort - (preuve aussi que la couche n'a jamais été remaniée).

Il y avait autour du reste du corps un grand nombre d'éclats de quartz, de silex parfois bien travaillés, quelques fragments d'ocre, des os brisés, etc. comme dans le reste de la couche archéologique sans rien de bien caractéristique. Sur l'aire comprise entre le bord ouest de la fosse et la paroi, nous avons rencontré assez grande abondance de grands fragments d'os, des màchoires, des vertèbres, de Renne en connexion; une vertèbre de grand Bovidé et de très belles pièces de silex, sous des blocaux de rochers. Enfin tout contre la paroi, au-dessus de ces blocs, la terre avait subi l'action du feu, à en juger par sa couleur noire (fig. 3, no 6), mais il n'est pas absolument prouvé que ce foyer soit ancien, quoique plusieurs os et pierres fussent engagés dans l'épaisseur de la terre noire et calcinés en partie. Ces foyers, au nombre de deux, étaient en forme de fond de bateau; mais dans l'intérieur de cette sorte de cuvette, il n'y avait qu'une terre rougeâtre sans rien de caractéristique ou à peu près.

Notons pour terminer qu'aucun os ne présente de traces d'utilisation, comme celles par exemple des os de la Quina et de Petit-Puymoyen (Charente) alors que les outillages ont tout à fait la même physionomie.

Il semble que cette grotte a été non un lieu d'habitation, mais un tombeau, où l'on serait venu faire de nombreux repas funéraires.



My translation of the above text:

As we advanced into the cave, we tried to see if there was a variation in the remains of plant or wildlife.

All we noticed was this: At the entry, in a small pit, it seems, intentionally (fig 2 and 4), and under blocks were lying the large horn of an aurochs, and, all around, many large fragments of long bones, skull and vertebrae of the same animal (a complete atlas bone, according to M. Harlé). Behind that there were some small reindeer bones. Finally over the skeleton of the man, again aurochs bones. Behind that, the archaeological layer petered out.

The man we found was intentionally buried. The skeleton lay at the bottom of a pit in the marly (derived from limestone and clay) floor of the cave, a deposit of white limestone hard to break open, in marked contrast with the archaeological layer. This pit (fig 1, 2 and 3) was roughly rectangular, 1 metre wide, 1.45 metres long, and 0.3 metres deep.

The body was oriented virtually east - west, lying on its back, head to the west, leaning against the edge of the pit in a corner and on a few stones. The right arm was probably folded, bringing the hand towards the head, the left arm was extended. The legs were also bent and doubled over on the right.

Above the head were placed three or four large fragments of flat bones and moreover there was, still in a connected state, the end of a large bovid metatarsal, the first two phalanges, and a second phalange. This is evidence that the leg was placed there still with its meat - perhaps as food for the dead - This is also proof that the layer has never been disturbed.

There were, around the rest of the body, a large number of fragments of quartz and of flint, sometimes worked well, a few fragments of ochre, broken bones, etc., as in the rest of the archaeological layer, with nothing typical. In the area between the western edge of the pit and the wall we found a relatively high abundance of large fragments of bone, jaw, vertebrae of reindeer still connected, a large bovid vertebra and beautiful pieces of flint beneath rocks. Finally, against the wall, above these blocks, the land had seen the action of fire, judging by its black color (Fig. 3, No. 6), but it is not absolutely proven that this fireplace is old, although many bones and stones were burnt, judging by the thickness of the partly burnt black soil. These fireplaces, two in number, were dish shaped, but in the interior of this kind of bowl, there was only red soil without any distinguishing characteristics.

Note finally that no bones showed any traces of use, such as those from the bones of the Quina and Petit-Puymoyen (Charente) have, while the tools are very similar to those found in those areas.

It seems that this cave was not a place of residence, but a tomb, where people came to many funeral meals.



Chapelle Aux Saints Chapelle Aux Saints

Réconstitution de la musculature faciale de l'homme de la Chapelle-aux-saints

D'après Marcellin Boule (1911 - 1913)

Reconstruction of the facial musculature of the man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints

After Marcellin Boule (1911 - 1913)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

Restoration of the bust of a Neanderthal man

© Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

Another version of the restoration of the bust of a Neanderthal man

Frederick Blaschke, supervised by Henry Field, “Restoration of the Bust of a Neanderthal Man,” between 1927 and 1929, Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History.

© Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: http://www.artsetsocietes.org/a/a-hurel.html




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Reconstruction of the face of the old man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints from a plaster cast of the original skull, by M.M. Gerasimov.

Photo: http://www.mae.nw.ru/en/temporary_exhibitions/virtual/gerasimov/05/




Chapelle Aux Saints

Statue of a Neanderthal in the grounds of le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




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Chapelle Aux Saints

This was a fine outdoor display of the conditions and the animals at La Chapelle-aux-Saints at the time the Neandertals were living here. The display was very well presented.

One of the small limestone caves in the line of caves shown in photos on this page was used by hyenas, and this can be recognised as the inspiration for the painting of hyenas by the unknown artist.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Outdoor display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

Marcellin Boule (1 January 1861 — 4 July 1942) was a French palaeontologist.

He studied and published the first analysis of a complete Homo neanderthalensis. The fossil discovered in La Chapelle-aux-Saints was an old man, and Boule characterized it as brutish, bent kneed and not a fully erect biped. In an illustration he commissioned, the Neanderthal was characterized as a hairy gorilla-like figure with opposable toes, according to a skeleton which was already distorted with arthritis. As a result, Neanderthals were viewed as highly primitive creatures in subsequent decades.

Boule also helped to inform the public about the hoax known as "Piltdown man". As early as 1915, Boule recognized that the jaw belonged to an ape rather than an ancient human.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Photo from the display at the Museum of La Chapelle Aux Saints, text from Wikipedia




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Les corrélations anatomiques du crâne de l'Homme de la Chapelle-aux-Saints - Anatomical correlations between the skull of modern man and that of the Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints.

Grandes dimensions horizontales du crâne (longueur et largeur) - Large horizontal dimensions of the Neandertal skull (length and width)

Front fuyant - Sloping forehead

Développement du bourrelet sus-orbitaire - Development of extra-orbital rim

Saillie de la glabelle - Protruding glabella (the space between the eyebrows and above the nose)

Pneumatisation du crâne facial - Pneumatisation (development of air filled cells) of the facial skull

Développement des sinus frontaux - Development of frontal sinuses

Gonflement sous-orbitaire - Sub-orbital swelling

Disparition de la fosse canine- Disappearance of the canine fossa (The depression above the canine tooth)

Face volumineuse - Large face

Développement des sinus maxilaires - Development of maxillary sinuses

Mandible allongée - Elongated mandible (jaw)

Menton absent ou peu marqué - Chin absent or poorly developed

Flexion basi-crânienne vousube de la notre - Basicranial flexion similar to ours

Position et orientation du trou occipital peu différentes de l'homme moderne - Position and orientation of the foramen magnum little different from modern man

Courbure cervicale - The cervical curvature (of the cervical vertebrae) forms after birth as a result of lifting the head

Réalisation de l'equilibre de la tête - Acquisition of equilibrium of the head (the idea that the head should sit stably on the spinal column when in an upright, standing position without undue reliance on muscles to keep the head in position)

Station verticale - Vertical posture

Apophyses mastoïdes réduites - Mastoid apophyses reduced. (The mastoid apophysis, or mastoid process is an outgrowth of the temporal bone behind the ear at the base of the skull. This process serves for the attachment of some of the muscles of the neck)

Écailles temporales petites et basses - Temporal lobes small and low.

Écailles occipitale - Occipital lobe

Hauteur relativement peu élevée de la voute du crâne - Relatively low height of the cranial vault

Étirement de l'arrieère-crâne - Stretching of the back of the skull

Grande capacité crânienne - Large cranial capacity

Photo and translation into English: Don Hitchcock

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints

Chapelle Aux Saints
Fémur Néandertalien

(La Chapelle-aux-Saints, fémur droit)

Chez les hommes de Néandertal, le fémur présente tous les caractères d'une bipédie comparable à la nôtre tels que les angles de torsion, de divergence et collo-diaphysaire et une crête glutéale très développée confirmant le rôle prépondérant des muscles fessiers.

Les différences qui opposent le fémur néandertalien au fémur moderne sont:

-d'une part des traits archaïques hérités d'un peuplement plus ancien: extrémités massives et volumineuses, notamment la tête fémorale; pilastre et ligne âpre peu accentués d'où la section cylindrique de la diaphyse.

-d'autre part des caractès propres aux Néandertaliens à savoir:

- une courbure antéro-postérieure constante dès l'âge de 7 mois et dont la fonction n'a pas été clairement établie. Elle pourrait être liée à la précocité de la marche chez le jeune enfant en raison d'une vitesse de croissance plus rapide que chez Homo sapiens;

-des condyles saillants et sub égaux;

-une large échancrure inter-condylienne.

Neanderthal femur (La Chapelle-aux-Saints, right femur)

In Neanderthals, the femur presents all the characteristics of a bipedalism comparable to ours, such as torsion angles, divergence and collodiaphyseal (pertaining to the neck and shaft of a long bone, especially the femur) and a well developed gluteal ridge (which the muscles of the gluteus maximus are attached to) confirming the role of the gluteal muscles.

Differences between the Neanderthal femur and a modern femur:

One of the archaic traits inherited from older predecessors: heavy and large extremities, including the femoral head;

-Other characteristics unique to Neanderthals include an antero-posterior curvature (i.e. from the front to the back) constant from the age of 7 months, and whose function has not been clearly established. It could be related to the precocity of walking in young children due to a growth rate faster than in Homo sapiens.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: facsimile and text on display at the Museum of Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints
Tibia Néandertalien

(La Chapelle-aux-Saints, tibia gauche)

Le tibia est robuste et relativement court.

- Le plateau tibial est incliné en bas et en dedans par suite de l'abaissement de la cavité glénoïde interne traduisant un rapprochement des genoux suite à la largeur du bassin et l'obliquité des fémurs, fait d'ailleurs compensé par l'élargissement de l'espace inter-glénoïdien lié à l'écartement des condyles fémoraux;

-les 2 plateaux tibiaux forment une même saillie vers l'arrière;

la malléole tibiale est déjetée en dedans ce qui, en raison de l'orientation inverse de la malléole péronière, entraîne un évasement caractérstique de l'articulation tibio-péronéo-astragalienne.

Neanderthal Tibia

(La Chapelle-aux-Saints, left tibia)

The tibia is robust and relatively short.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: facsimile and text on display at the Museum of Chapelle-aux-Saints




Comment estimer l'âge d'un homme fossile.

En comparant son squelette avec celui d'un homme actuel supposé du même âge:



De tous les hommes fossiles connus actuellement, les Néandertaliens sont les mieux représentés en fonction du sexe (hommes-femmes) et de l'âge (foetus, nouveaux-nés, enfants, adultes et viellieards). Les enfants représentent près de la moitié des restes connus.

Les résorptions osseuses au niveau des orbites de l'Homme de La Chapelle-aux-Saints (phénomène apparaissant chez l'homme moderne vers 70 ans) permettent d'estimer qu'il s'agissait d'un "viellard", au sens néandertalien du terme (plus de 60 ans)!

How to estimate the age of a fossil human

By comparing the skeleton with that of a human supposed to be of the same age:



Of all currently known human fossils, the Neanderthals are the best represented as a function of sex (males and females) and age (foetuses, newborns, children, adults and the elderly). Children account for nearly half of the remains known.

The bone resorption at the level of the orbits of the eyes of the Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints (a phenomenon occurring in modern man from 70 years old) allows us to estimate that he was an "old man" within the meaning of the term when applied to Neanderthals (over 60!).

Chapelle-aux-Saints
A fascinating comparison of the average age at death for various times in human history and prehistory.

It is especially interesting that there were twice as many people living to more than forty years old in the Middle Paleolithic than in the Upper Palaeolithic. It would be good to know why.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle-aux-Saints
Rapport D'Autopsie

Pathologie Inflammatoire

arthrose cervicale absolument semblables à celles que l'on rencontre souvent de nos jours. Maladie qui témoigne de l'imparfaite adaptation de l'Homme à la station debout, elle n'est donc pas une conséquence de notre mode de vie moderne!

Lésion d'Origine Traumatique

Fracture d'une côte qui a dû précéder de peu de semaines la mort de sujet

Pathologie congénitale

Subluxation de la hanche

Le sujet devait boiter et souffrir de son articulation




Autopsy Report

Inflammatory disease

Cervical osteoarthritis completely similar to that encountered frequently nowadays. It is a disease that reflects the imperfect adjustment of humans standing upright, it is not a consequence of our modern lifestyle!

Traumatic injury

Fracture of a rib which preceded death by a few weeks.

Congenital disease

Partial dislocation of the hip - the ball of the hip joint is only partially in the socket.

The subject was limping, with hip pain

Bilan de santé des Néandertaliens
  Cross  pas de carence en vitamines
 Cross  aucune carence alimentaire
 Cross  absence de carie
 Cross  aucune maladie inconnue
 Cross  peu de lésions traumatiques
 Cross  pas de traces d'interventions chirurgicales ni de trépinations
 Cross  pas d'ostéoporose ni de maldies liées à la vielliesse,
car ils mourraient le plus souvent avant que ces signes n'apparaissent


Bill of Health for the Neandertals
  Cross  No vitamin deficiency
 Cross  No nutritional deficiency
 Cross  absence of tooth decay
 Cross  No unknown diseases
 Cross  Little trauma
 Cross  No traces of surgery or skull surgery
 Cross  No osteoporosis or other age related diseases
because they most often die before these signs appear


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




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A number of other caves in a line along the slope of the hill are being investigated.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008


Chapelle-aux-Saints

Professeur Jean-Louis Heim, Professeur au Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, delivered an erudite and well received lecture on Neandertals when I was there on Wednesday, 30th July 2008, at a conference on the occasion of the centenary of the discovery of the old man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints in 1908.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




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This cave has been excavated and mostly filled in.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Chapelle-aux-Saints

These are the tools of trade for archaeologists, left outside a shelter to dry at the Chapelle-aux-Saints site. When I got to the site in the afternoon, there were a group of graduate students at the site working on the excavated deposits.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




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At the time I was there, after the lecture at the museum by Professor Heim, the conference attendees then inspected the site.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008






Chapelle-aux-Saints

Panorama of the far right hand side of the line of limestone caves.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008







Chapelle-aux-Saints

Vegetation zones during the last (Würm) glaciation.

Zones inhabitées recouvertes de glace

Toundra: végétation rase (mousses, lichens, bruyère, bouleaux et saules nains)

Steppe: étendues d'herbes (graminées)

Taïga: forêts de conifères, arbres à feuilles persistantes (pins, sapins...)

Forêt: arbres à feuilles caduques (bouleaux, chênes, hêtres, saules...)




Uninhabited areas covered with ice.

Tundra vegetation (mosses, lichens, heather, dwarf birch and willow).

Steppe: herbs and grass.

Taiga: Conifer forests (pine, fir ...).

Forest: deciduous trees (birch, oaks, beeches, willows ...).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle-aux-Saints

Des Climats Variés

Les Neandertaliens ont vécu dans trois types successifs de climats:



-50 000 à -30 000

Froid Sec (glaciaire) Prairies et steppes
Animaux des Espaces
Découverts et Arctiques
(renne, mammouth, rhinocéros laineux, boeuf musqué)



-70 000 à -50 000

Froid Humide (glaciaire)
Paysages Arborés/Prairies Steppes
Animaux Forestiers et Animaux des Espaces Découverts
(cheval, bison des steppes, boeuf primitif, antilope saïga)



-130 000 à -70 000

Tempéré et Humide
(interglaciaire)
Paysages arborés
Animaux Forestiers
(sanglier, cerf, chevreuil)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




A Varied Climate

Neanderthals lived in three successive types of climates:


-50 000 to -30 000 BP

Cold and Dry (ice age)
Prairies and steppes
Animals of the extensive, open, cold grasslands
(reindeer, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, musk ox)



-70 000 to -50 000 BP

Cold and Wet (ice age)
Treed landscapes / Prairies and Steppes
Animals of the Forests and Plains
(horses, steppe bison, aurochs, saiga antelope)



-130 000 to -70 000 BP

Temperate and Humid (interglacial)
Treed Landscape
Forest Animals
(wild boar, deer, roe deer)



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Origin of the flint (silex) used for tools at La Chapelle-Aux-Saints.

Good flint was often carried considerable distances, testifying to its importance for hunting and other uses.

However it may have moved these distances by way of trade at the boundaries of several groups of hunters, rather than being the result of single journeys out and back by those looking for good material for tools. In any case, the amount of flint from close by was always far in excess of that carried a long distance.

Photo: (left) Don Hitchcock 2008

(right) The Neanderthal Legacy Paul Mellars (1995)

Source: (left) Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints,



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2300 armes et outils en pierre taillée ont été recueillis dans la grotte où se trouvait la sépulture!

Les racloirs (50% des instruments trouvés)

Description:
éclats parfois épais, dont le bord le plus long porte une retouche ...., souvent écailleuse et presque verticale.

Méthode:
Ces éclats ont été détachés par percussion de blocs de matière premiére, appelés nucleus, à l'aide d'un "marteau naturel" ou percuteur, par exemple un galet de quartz. La série de petits enlèvements qui forme la retouche caractéristique du racloir a pu être réalisée en utilisant comme percuteur de grosses esquilles d'os ou des phalanges d'herbivores.




Utilisation:
Travail du bois et beaucoup plus rarement de l'os ou de la peau.

Ces observations permettent d'imaginer la place importante que tenait le bois et les instruments en bois dans la vie quotidienne des Néandertaliens. Malheureusement le bois ne s'est pas conservé.

2300 weapons and stone tools have been collected in the cave where the burial was found!

Scrapers (50% of the instruments found)

Description:
sometimes thick flakes, with the longest edge heavily retouched.

Method: These chips were detached by percussion from blocks of raw materials, called a nucleus, using a "natural hammer" or "striker", such as a pebble of quartz. The series of small chips that form the retouch feature of the scraper were made using as a striker large bones or the phalanges of herbivores.

Use:
Woodworking and less often the working of bone or hides.

These observations allows us to realise the important place held by the and wooden tools in the daily life of Neanderthals. Unfortunately the wood has not been conserved.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints

Chapelle-aux-Saints Chapelle-aux-Saints Chapelle-aux-Saints


Chapelle-aux-Saints

Horseshoe fungus, used as tinder in the making of fire and as a way of keeping a fire going over the period of a day or so. I understand it is a good idea to boil the fungus in water, then dry it before use. Fungal spores can be a health hazard.




Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints



Chapelle-aux-Saints

Les savants prétendent que c'est le crâne du plus ancien homme du monde.
C'est une malveillante insinuation destinée à faire croire que les hommes du monde descendent du singe.

Scientists claim it is the skull of the oldest man in the world.
It is a malicious insinuation aimed at making people believe that we descended from monkeys.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

A photo of the three discoverers of the Neandertal at La Chappelle Aux Saints on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the event.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints






The plaque reads:
En cette "Bouffia" Bonneval
Fut découvert et exhumé
Le 3 Août 1908
Par les Abbés Amédée et Jean Bouyssonie
Et leur frère Paul
Le squelette d'un homme "Moustérien"
Dit de "Néanderthal"
Legue au Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle

Manifestation du Cinquantenaire
3 Août 1958
La Societé Archéologique
de Brive





Translation:

In this Bouffia Bonneval (the name now of the national monument - Don) was discovered and exhumed on 3 August 1908 by the Abbés Amédée and Jean Bouyssonie and their brother Paul the skeleton of a "Mousterian" man called "Neanderthal".

Held by the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery
3 August 1958

"Bouffia" means limestone cave in the local patois. The site still belongs to the Bonneval Family.

Chapelle Aux Saints

Postcard - La Grotte Préhistorique de La Chapelle-aux-Saints.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




Chapelle Aux Saints

La Grotte Préhistorique de La Chapelle-aux-Saints.

I suspect that this is a photograph taken immediately after the exhumation of the skeleton of the old man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints.

There is an excavation in the floor of the cave, and it was common practice at that time to put a stick or some other marker such as a cloth at the place where an important find had been made, for the purposes of a photograph for posterity.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at le musée de l'Homme de Néandertal, La Chapelle-aux-Saints




La Ferrassie skullPhoto: Secrets of the Ice Age by Evan Hadingham, 1980
Text adapted from this book and from the Smithsonian site:
http://www.mnh.si.edu/anthro/humanorigins/ha/lachap.htm

Human remains were found in a burial excavated into the limestone bedrock in the floor of a small cave near La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France, by A. and J. Bouyssonie and L. Bardon, on 3rd August 1908. The find comprised a nearly complete skeleton of an adult male of the species Homo neanderthalensis, aged about fifty. The man had been buried on his back, head facing the west, with the right arm bent and the legs drawn up toward the body. Around him lay numerous fragments of quartz, flint, ochre, and animal bones, but since the soil around the grave pit also was littered with such objects, it is difficult to know if they were deposited intentionally as offerings at the old man's burial. There were hearths inside the cave and many animal bones, including those of reindeer, bison, horse, and ibex, which must represent the remains of a number of meals. Today, the cave is an unpleasant, musty cavity; its ceiling is too low to allow one to stand upright, and this convinced the original excavators that it was "not a habitation place but a tomb, where people would have come to make many funeral feasts." (Bouyssonie, A. and J., and Bardon, L., as quoted by Vandermeersch, B., in Lumley, H. de, ed., 1976. La Préhistoire Française, CNRS, Paris, p. 725.)

La Ferrassie skullPhoto: Secrets of the Ice Age by Evan Hadingham, 1980

The recovered remains included a well-preserved skull and mandible, most of the vertebrae, several ribs, most of the long bones of the arms and legs, plus some of the smaller bones of the hands and feet.

Many of the teeth were missing, and the bone that had surrounded these teeth showed evidence of healing after tooth loss. This means that the individual lived for a considerable time after losing many of his teeth. In all, the teeth lost during life included all of the check teeth on the right side of the lower jaw, the molars on the left, and at least the molars of the upper jaw. While the remaining teeth were probably sufficient for chewing, it is likely that this individual was supported by others in his final years.

The "Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints" was the first relatively complete skeleton of a Neanderthal individual. The original reconstruction, which was made by the noted paleontologist Marcellin Boule, influenced the perception of Neanderthals in paleoanthropology and popular culture for many years.

Recent dating of this site has yielded an age of around 60 000 years old.

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