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Unearthed: A Neanderthal’s bedroom

The remains of a Neanderthal’s sleeping chamber, complete with hearth and beds, has been found in a cave in Spain.

Neanderthals inhabited the cozy Late Pleistocene room, located within Esquilleu Cave in Cantabria, Spain, anywhere between 53,000 to 39,000 years ago, according to a Journal of Archaeological Science paper concerning the discovery.

Living the ultimate clean and literally green lifestyle, the Neanderthals appear to have constructed new beds out of grass every so often, using the old bedding material to help fuel the hearth.

“It is possible that the Neanderthals renewed the bedding each time they visited the cave,” lead author Dan Cabanes told Discovery News.

Cabanes, a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Kimmel Center for Archaeological Research, added that these hearth-side beds also likely served as sitting areas during waking hours for the Neanderthals.

“In some way, they were used to make the area near the hearths more comfortable,” he said, mentioning that artifacts collected from various other Neanderthal sites suggest the inhabitants prepared stone tools, cooked, ate and snoozed near warming fires.

For this study, Cabanes and his team collected sediment samples from the Spanish cave. Detailed analysis of the samples allowed the scientists to reconstruct what materials were once present in certain parts of the cave at particular times.

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2 thoughts on “Unearthed: A Neanderthal’s bedroom

  1. Excuse my humour, for a moment. But you haven’t seen a Neanderthal’s sleeping chamber until you risk going into your teenage son’s bedroom.

    At least in the Spanish cave, researchers could tell which objects were the beds and which was the hearth. When my sons were 17, the objects could not be differentiated by eye. Everything was covered with clothes, school essays, science projects, computer parts, the dog, books, sports equipment and other unknown bits of stuff.

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