Neanderthals, like humans, may have organized their living spaces
Researchers have found that Neanderthals used to organize their living spaces in ways that were familiar to modern humans, a discovery that once again shows similarities between the close cousins.
Washington: Researchers have found that Neanderthals used to organize their living spaces in ways that were familiar to modern humans, a discovery that once again shows similarities between the close cousins.
The findings indicate that Neanderthals butchered animals, made tools and gathered round the fire in different parts of their shelters.
Lead author Julien Riel-Salvatore, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver, said that there has been this idea that Neanderthals did not have an organized use of space, something that has always been attributed to humans.
He said that they found that Neanderthals did not just throw their stuff everywhere but in fact were organized and purposeful when it came to domestic space.
The findings are based on excavations at Riparo Bombrini , a collapsed rock shelter in northwest Italy where both Neanderthals and, later, early humans lived for thousands of years.
The site comprises three levels assigned to Neanderthals. Scientists found that Neanderthals divided the cave into different areas for different activities.
Riel-Salvatore and his team found a high frequency of animal remains in the rear of the top level, indicating that the area was likely used for butchering game. They also found evidence of ochre use in the back of the shelter.
In the middle level, which has the densest traces of human occupation, artifacts were distributed differently. Animal bones were concentrated at the front rather than the rear of the cave. This was also true of the stone tools, or lithics. A hearth was in back of the cave about half a meter to a meter from the wall.
The bottom level, thought to represent a short-term base camp, is the least well known because it was exposed only over a very small area. More stone artifacts were found immediately inside the shelter`s mouth, suggesting tool production may have occurred inside the part of the site where sunlight was available.
The study has been published in the Canadian Journal of Archaeology.