Neanderthals, who were the predecessors to human beings, buried their


Neanderthals, who were the predecessors to human beings, buriedtheir dead, as is the case with modern humans. This depicts thatcontrary to past archeologists’ findings the primeval species mighthave been more human-like, in addition to being more intelligent. Theargument on if Neanderthal’s buried their dead has been sparked byan article published by National Geographic. The articleasserts the existence of burials dating 50,000 years back, which weredug by the Neanderthal companions as a manner of preserving theirdead. This follows the discovery of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthalskeleton. The article aims at settling a long-standing disagreementon the Neanderthal site in a cave in France, on if the burial site isof a Neanderthal. It is apparent that the remains in the cave weredeliberately buried. Since the remains belong to a Neanderthalskeleton, it becomes obvious that they buried their dead.

Background Information on the Site

The information published in the article is a new discovery.Although the sight was discovered years ago, anthropologists wereunable to confirm findings. However, after a 13-year reassessment ofthe site, the conclusion is that Neanderthal’s buried their dead.The site is La Chapelle-aux-Saints, which is in France. It has alwaysbeen questionable if the site holds any archeological proof of thehuman forerunners. Ker, in the National Geographic articlestates that two brothers discovered the site in 1908. The individualswere archeologists, and after uncovering the 50,000-year-oldNeanderthal skeleton from the cave, hypothesized that the burial ofthe remains was well planned. However, lack of information on theexcavation process employed by the Bouyssonie brothers made mostdoubters to suppose the possibility of a misinterpretation of thediscovery. The site was later reexamined in 1999, by Frencharcheologists.

In another article, archeologists confirm that the site dates 50,000years ago. Griffin, in the Science World Report notes that thesite is in southwest France. Excavators suppose that the site was aprepared burial site for early humans. The excavations conducted in1908, discovered properly conserved bones, which can only be found ina burial site dating back to the years noted in the discovery. Thediscovery resulted in the excavation of seven more caves in LaChapelle-aux-Saints from 1999. In 2012, archeologists revealed thediscovery of additional Neanderthal remains. Griffins notes, thediscovery is a confirmation of the presence of human predecessorburials happening in Western Europe. The site indicates that thehumans were covered soon after passing away. Similarly, Bora in theInternational Business Times acknowledges that a 13 yearsstudy has confirmed the presence of Neanderthal remains in duggraves, which date back to 50, 000 years. The author notes that thesite is not a new discovery as it was initially discovered in 1908,after archeologist discovered the skeletal remains of an individualwith spinal deformities. The conclusion is that the burial site is ahuman origin, meaning that it ought to have been created byNeanderthal’s to preserve their dead.

Review of the Academic Article

The article explains how a Neanderthal skeleton results in theconclusion that human predecessors buried their dead. The skeletonwas discovered more than a century ago, resulting in a 13-yearreexamination of the site in Southwestern France. Neanderthal’s aresaid to have left few proof of their existence, as a result, manyarcheologists have been quick in disregarding any evidence on theexistence of this early humans garnered from La Chapelle-aux-Saints,France. The reason for disregarding such evidence has been that theexcavations were done years ago. The team of archeologists, headed bya New York University paleontologist, has resolved the argument onNeanderthal burial places and their remains. During the 13-yearresearch, the archeologists have excavated seven more graves withinthe region in search of more remains of the early human. The study isdirected by the 1908 discovery of the site, making it possible forarcheologists to look around for more graves that are similar.Following the excavation of twenty or more gravesites all overWestern Europe, it has become possible to conclude that Neanderthal’sperformed burials in some instances.

Previous research on the site has been refuted because of lack ofproof on the excavation processes employed by the Boutssonie brothersin 1908. However, their findings cannot be disregarded as they havebeen the cause of years of debate, which has compelled archeologiststo study the site and make conclusions on if the remains belong tothe Neanderthal, and if the gravesites are human created. Evidence todemonstrate that the graves are human created derives from thedepression upon which the skeleton was discovered. In addition,contrary to the bison and reindeer bones, also available in the cave,the early human’s bones comprised of a few cracks. The Neanderthalremains also lacked any signs of weathering-linked smoothing, andneither had the remains being disturbed by animals. The discoveriesconfirm that the bison and reindeer bones have a different history.It is apparent that the bones were subjected to open air for longperiods. Contrary, those of the skeleton show signs of protection,with the fortification arising from the immediate burial of the deadNeanderthal.

The archeological methods employed by the scientists are excavationand observation of the bones found at the site. For instance, theskeletons found in 1908 are noted to depict that the Neanderthal hadhip and back complications, making movement hard without help. Bycomparing the human bones to those of animals, it becomes possible tonote the disparity on those that have been exposed and those thatwere buried. There have been additional excavations on the site tovalidate the presence of human bones and existence of burial placesin Western Europe. The findings presented in the article results inthe conclusion that Neanderthal’s observed culture and wereintelligent. By burying their dead, it becomes apparent that theytook care of each other. Similar to modern humans, they were keen onpreserving their dead.


The article properly reflects the original argument, as well asresults. The original argument is that Neanderthals engaged in thepractice of burying their dead. To support the argument, the authorcommences by introducing the findings of a burial site, which isalleged to be human made. The article notes that the burial site isnot an advent discovery, rather was discovered in 1908. Ker does notdisregard the need to note where and how the site was discovered,which is important in enhancing the truthfulness of the article. Theauthor further explores why initial archeological research was notconvincing and why the current findings are authentic.

The present study is convincing because it has taken years, prior toany conclusive results being established. In addition, the researchdid not include just two individuals, but a team of scientists. Thefact that the individuals conducting the research were scientistsimplies they have knowhow on the field of archeology. The article isauthentic because the author is keen to incorporate the methodsapplied in determining if early human predecessors buried their dead.Scientists use bones from animals and human to compare the disparityin preservation. In addition, is the excavation of more burial sites,seemingly created by the Neanderthal, which resemble modern ways ofburying the dead. Thus, the objective of the article has beenachieved in convincing readers that human predecessors were alsointelligent. This is because they were knowledgeable on how topreserve their dead by burial.


Future research avenues need to focus on finding or determining thetools used by Neanderthal to dig and bury the dead. Considering thathumans have created the burial sites, it is only obvious that theyused tools to dig and bury. The study concluded in 2012 does not findthe tool marks or different proof of digging in the site the skeletonwas discovered. Possible questions are if Neanderthal used hands todig the shallow graves, and if not, how can tools be traced andassociated with the burial sites. Analysis is a possiblearcheological technique in the prospect study. It entails furtheranalysis on the site and surrounding area. This is because moreanalysis may present closure on how the graves were created since notools, or sign of tools are apparent in the current research.

Works Cited

Bora, Kukil. Neanderthals’ Ancient Ritual for The Dead:50,000-Year-Old Skeleton Suggests Early Humans Buried Their Dead.International Business Times, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Nov.2014. skeleton-suggests-early-humans-buried-their-dead

Griffin, Catherine. Ancient Neanderthals Buried Their Dead LikeModern Humans. Science World Report, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 28Nov. 2014. buried-dead-modern-humans.htm

Than, Ker. Neanderthal Burials Confirmed as Ancient Ritual. NationalGeographic, 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. chapelle-neanderthal-burials-graves/