le 20 décembre 2013
Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences of the USA - Décembre 2013
Evidence supporting an intentional Neandertal burial at La Chapelle-aux-Saints
par William Rendu, Cédric Beauval, Isabelle Crevecoeur, Priscilla Bayle, Antoine Balzeau, Thierry Bismuth,Laurence Bourguignon, Géraldine Delfour, Jean-Philippe Faivre, François Lacrampe-Cuyaubère,Carlotta Tavormina, Dominique Todisco, Alain Turq, and Bruno Maureille
The bouffia Bonneval at La Chapelle-aux-Saints is well known for the discovery of the first secure Neandertal burial in the early 20th century. However, the intentionality of the burial remains an issue of some debate. Here, we present the results of a 12-y fieldwork project, along with a taphonomic analysis of the human remains,designed to assess the funerary context of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints Neandertal. We have established the anthropogenic nature of the burial pit and underlined the taphonomic evidence of a rapid burial of the body. These multiple lines of evidence support the hypothesis of an intentional burial. Finally, the discovery of skeletal elements belonging to the original La Chapelle aux Saints 1 individual, two additional young individuals, and a second adult in the bouffia Bonneval highlights a more complex site-formation history than previously proposed.