Paris, 2 September 2014

First Neanderthal rock engraving found in Gibraltar

The first example of a rock engraving attributed to Neanderthals has been discovered in Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar, by an international team1 bringing together prehistorians from the French Laboratory 'De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel: Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie' (PACEA - CNRS/Université Bordeaux/Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication), and researchers from the UK and Spain. Dated at over 39 000 years old, it consists of a deeply impressed cross-hatching carved into rock. Its analysis calls into question the view that the production of representational and abstract depictions on cave walls was a cultural innovation introduced into Europe by modern humans. On the contrary, the findings, published in PNAS on September 1, support the hypothesis that Neanderthals had a symbolic material culture.

To download the press release : GravureNéandertalienne


1The research was supported by an ERC grant.


A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar; Rodríguez-Vidal J., d'Errico F., Giles Pacheco F., Blasco R., Rosell J., Jennings J.R., Queffelec A., Finlayson G., Darren A. Fa., Gutiérrez López J.M., Carrión J.S., Negro J.J., Finlayson S., Cáceres L.M., Bernal M.A., Fernández Jiménez S., Finlayson C.; PNAS; 1 September 2014.


CNRS researcher l Francesco d'Errico l T +33 (0)5 40 00 26 28 l
CNRS Press Office l Lucie Debroux l T +33 (0)1 44 96 43 09 l


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