Prehistoric Catalonia Burial Cave Reveals Over 7,000 Human Stays

Archaeologists in Catalonia, northeastern Spain, have unearthed human and animal stays and decorative objects spanning from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Cova dels Xaragalls cave, positioned in Vimbodí i Poblet, has unveiled a wealthy, prehistoric burial web site that dates again from 7,000 to three,000 years in the past. The prolonged utilization of the cave, over such an in depth and enduring timeframe, could present ample insights into the evolution of prehistoric society, particularly concerning loss of life and burial rituals.

The latest excavation marketing campaign on the web site befell from December 4 to December 22, 2023, led by Dr. Miguel Ángel Moreno, Dr. Josep Vallverdú and Alfredo Suesta, who’re researchers at IPHES-CERCA. Additionally participating had been Dr. Antonio Rodríguez Hidalgo, a professor within the Division of Prehistory and Archaeology on the College of Seville, and an affiliate researcher at IPHES-CERCA.

A human skull discovered in the Cova dels Xaragalls burial cave in Catalonia. (Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo / University of Sevilla / IPHES-CERCA)

A human cranium found within the Cova dels Xaragalls burial collapse Catalonia. (Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo / College of Sevilla / IPHES-CERCA)

Was the Catalonia Burial Cave a Hang-out for Neanderthals?

“We all know that this cavity was used as a burial cave, it was a cemetery during which the our bodies of the deceased had been deposited,” defined Antonio Rodríguez Hidalgo in a press launch revealed by the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES). “It was used for this [purpose] for millennia, which generated a big deposit of human corpses.”

The excavation revealed a big variety of animal stays, together with these of sheep, goats, pigs and cows—widespread livestock in Mediterranean prehistory—in addition to canine and horses. A bit of the cave even contained the skeletal stays of untamed goats, together with charcoal and burnt bones relationship again over 40,000 years!

These findings elevate the chance that the cave was as soon as visited by Neanderthals, our historic human family members who inhabited Eurasia till roughly 40,000 years in the past. Earlier research have proven that prehistoric people in elements of the Iberian Peninsula, shared between Spain and Portugal, used caves as burial websites over prolonged intervals of time.

Classification of artifacts unearthed in the burial cave in Catalonia. (Antonietta del Bove / IPHES-CERCA)

Classification of artifacts unearthed within the burial collapse Catalonia. (Antonietta del Bove / IPHES-CERCA)

Deliberate Manipulation of Human Bones at Burial Collapse Catalonia

A research revealed in PLoS ONE in 2023 delved into the manipulation and utilization of human bones inside a cave burial web site spanning hundreds of years. Within the research, researchers investigated a number of human stays, attributed to no less than 12 people, found in Cueva de los Mármoles, a cave positioned within the Andalusia area of southern Spain.

Relationship again to roughly the fifth to 2nd millennia BC, the stays counsel that people had been interred within the cave whereas nonetheless present process partial decomposition. Newsweek reported that the examination revealed deliberate alterations to the bones autopsy, resembling fractures and scrapes possible inflicted throughout makes an attempt to extract marrow and different tissues from the deceased.

Prehistoric farmers and herders in southern Spain practiced burial rituals inside a large cave, however proof suggests a possible autopsy manipulation of the deceased’s stays. The discoveries indicate that people may need deliberately modified the bones for numerous functions, together with toolmaking and doubtlessly consuming bone marrow.

The noticed fractures, scrapes and cuts on the bones occurred whereas they had been nonetheless in a “recent” state, possible inside the first 12 months following loss of life. This means deliberate actions carried out on the bones after the preliminary burial, shedding gentle on potential practices involving the manipulation of human stays throughout historic instances.

One other important facet of the investigation was the entry to the Sala Gran, which facilitated the documentation of latest archaeological layers. Inside this space, skeletal stays of untamed goats (Capra pyrenaica/ibex) had been found, together with charcoal and bones that had been burned over 40,000 years in the past, which ties up with the aforementioned chronologically.

In line with, Dr. Josep Vallverdú, this set of stays “often is the first proof of Neanderthal cave settlement within the Muntanyes of Prades, from the identical interval of the Foradada Cova and the Abric de la Scream, in Calafell, or in nearer Musterian deposits subsequent to the Abric Romaní de Capellades.”

High picture: Archaeologists analyzing the stays from excavations on the Cova dels Xaragalls burial collapse Catalonia. Supply: IPHES-CERCA

By Sahir Pandey

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