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01-Sep-2019 13:39

By comparison, the Bruniquel stalagmite rings are well-preserved and Why did they build the rings and mounds?The structures weren’t foundations for huts; the chamber contains no stone tools, human bones, or any other sign of permanent occupation, and besides, why build shelter a cave?Carbon-dating is only accurate for samples younger than 50,000 years, so the Bruniquel material was hitting the technique’s limits. To get a better estimate, Verheyden assembled a team including archaeologist Jacques Jaubert and fellow stalagmite expert Dominique Genty.In 2013, they got permission to study the site and crawled into it themselves.

The discovery suggested that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for.

With his death, work on the Bruniquel Cave ceased, and its incredible contents were neglected.

They’ve only now re-entered the limelight because Sophie Verheyden went on holiday.

“A plausible explanation is that this was a meeting place for some type of ritual social behavior,” says Paola Villa from the University of Colorado Museum.“When you see such a structure so far into the cave, you think of something cultural or religious, but that’s not proven,” adds Verheyden.

Indeed, despite some fanciful speculations about cave bear cults, no one really knows.

The discovery suggested that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for.With his death, work on the Bruniquel Cave ceased, and its incredible contents were neglected.They’ve only now re-entered the limelight because Sophie Verheyden went on holiday.“A plausible explanation is that this was a meeting place for some type of ritual social behavior,” says Paola Villa from the University of Colorado Museum.“When you see such a structure so far into the cave, you think of something cultural or religious, but that’s not proven,” adds Verheyden.Indeed, despite some fanciful speculations about cave bear cults, no one really knows.On one side were old minerals that were part of the original stalagmites; on the other were newer layers that had been laid down the fragments were broken off by the cave’s former users.