STATES CHRONICLE – You’ve probably inherited your particular building skills from the Neanderthals. If you like to do constructions work, check out how Neanderthals used it. In a Southwestern French cave called Bruniquel, experts discovered some 176,000 years old ring-like structures.
Our closest living relatives apparently started building something there, although scientists didn’t consider Neanderthals as constructors or cave explorers before. These so-called “constructions” are not yet deciphered as researchers don’t know what purpose they served.
The Bruniquel Cave was first explored in the year 1990 by a French archeologist who descended over 1,000 feet into the cave. The entrance had been blocked for millennia. In his travels deep into the cave he discovered someone had organized broken stalagmites in two large oval shapes, but before he could fully explore the mystery, he passed away.
In 2013, twenty years later, a crew managed to go back to the site’s discovery and confirm the finding was not naturally caused. Does this remind you of The Descent?
The France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) scientific team found circles of stone spikes raised like two-foot-high fences. Nearby, in addition to what the original explorer uncovered, the team encountered piles of stone rubbles.
In the article published in Nature, the scientists write it is the most complex structure ever to be found from the time the Neanderthals lived. One of the researchers, geologist Dominique Genty, says it is “some sort of elaborate construction.”
The scientists have only clues to why those people built such a structure. The stalagmite fragments, for example, show signs of being burned. Was this a fireplace to keep them warm or prevent bears from getting closer? Or was it used for a ritual? They don’t know yet.
Another clue is the location of the ancient structure – 1,000 feet from the entrance. No previous discovery of such distance from natural light has ever been made. Another astonishing mark comes from burned animal bones lying at the site. Is it possible that the fatty bones were used as torches?
Neanderthal expert at the Leiden University in the Netherlands, Marie Soressi, says evidence of Neanderthals being much smarter than previously believed keeps stocking up when “even Neanderthals 200,000 years ago, had cognitive abilities not so different from our direct ancestors.”
Image source: National Public Radio (NPR)