Archaeologists uncover Neanderthals within the cave close to Rome: NPR

The Italian Ministry of Culture said the Guattari Cave in San Felice Circeo was “one of the most important places in the world for the history of the Neanderthals”. Emanuele Antonio Minerva / Italian Ministry of Culture via AP hide caption

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Emanuele Antonio Minerva / Italian Ministry of Culture via AP

The Italian Ministry of Culture said the Guattari Cave in San Felice Circeo was “one of the most important places in the world for the history of the Neanderthals”.

Emanuele Antonio Minerva / Italian Ministry of Culture via AP

Archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals in a prehistoric cave south of Rome, the Italian Ministry of Culture announced on Saturday.

The oldest remains date from 90,000 to 100,000 years ago, while the other eight are believed to be younger and were formed 50,000 to 68,000 years ago.

The results include skull, skull fragments, two teeth, and other bone fragments. The fossilized bones were found in the Guattari Cave in San Felice Circeo, which is about 90 km southeast of Rome.

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According to the Associated Press, a Neanderthal skull was discovered there in 1939. The ministry said the recent discovery confirms the Guattari Cave as “one of the most significant places in the world for Neanderthal history.”

Neanderthals became extinct about 40,000 years ago, but small traces of their DNA still exist in modern humans.

Excavation work on the site began in 2019, exploring parts of the cave that had not previously been explored.

The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, called the result “an extraordinary discovery that will be the talk of the world”.

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Archaeologists said the cave, which was closed by an ancient earthquake or landslide, perfectly preserved the environment 50,000 years ago.

In addition to the Neanderthal bones, the research team discovered many fossilized animal remains, including hyenas, elephants, rhinos and giant deer.

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