martedì 13 ottobre 2015


Non fu l'Uomo di Neanderthal - romanticamente evoluto

quasi al nostro stesso livello di sensibilità affettiva - a

deporre i propri morti con bouquets di fiori, nel corso di un 

complesso rito funebre. 

Furono le api dell'epoca a lasciare quei pollini, ed il vento 

nel corso del tempo...

Neanderthal 'flower burials' theory debunked 

Anthropology, ArchaeoHeritage, Breakingnews, Early Humans, Iraq 

Theories that Neanderthals buried their dead with flower-filled funeral rites have been called into question by new research which finds that natural processes are still depositing pollen in the same way in the same caves. 

Shanidar Cave in Iraq [Credit: LJMU] 

The pollen analyst Josette Leroi-Gourhan found clumps of pollen and flowers in a Neanderthal burial in Shanidar Cave in Iraq in the 1950s and 60s and deduced from their variety and concentration that animals were unlikely to have placed them there, so they must have been part of a ritual. 
Ralph Solecki, the leader of the dig that discovered the burials, wrote in his book Shanidar, The First Flower People, in 1971: ‘With the finding of flowers in association with Neanderthals, we are brought suddenly to the realization that the universality of mankind and the love of beauty go beyond the boundary of our own species. No longer can we deny the early men the full range of human feelings and experience.’ 

The difficulty of digging in Iraq in the intervening time has made it difficult to re-examine the site, but a group from Liverpool John Moores University made the trip recently and found similar buildup of pollen to that found in the burial on the surface, which they attribute to the action of bees.

Pollen clump from Shanidar cave in Iraq [Credit: LJMU] 

They hypothesise in a paper in the latest edition of the Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology that the similar pollen found under the surface by the Solecki expedition is simply bee-pollen and wind-blown vegetation that has been covered up over the last 60,000 years since the burial. 
It is still evident from the Shanidar burials and other sites that Neanderthals took considerable care over the internment of the dead, keeping them safe from scavengers and marking the sites with carved stone ornaments, but sadly the poetic image of flower-laden prehistoric graves seems to be far less likely now. 

Author: Ian Douglas | Source: Telegraph [October 09, 2015]