Shanidar Cave is located on Bradost Mountain in the Erbil Governorate of Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. It contains the remains of eight adult and two infant Neanderthals, dating from around 65,000–35,000 years ago. The cave also contains two later proto-Neolithic cemeteries, one of which dates back about 10,600 years and contains 35 individuals.
About Shanidar Cave in brief
Shanidar Cave is an archaeological site located on Bradost Mountain in the Erbil Governorate of Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. It contains the remains of eight adult and two infant Neanderthals, dating from around 65,000–35,000 years ago. These individuals were uncovered amongst a Mousterian layer accompanied by various stone tools and animal remains. The cave also contains two later proto-Neolithic cemeteries, one of which dates back about 10,600 years and contains 35 individuals. The first nine were unearthed between 1957 and 1961 by Ralph Solecki and a team from Columbia University. The skeleton of Shanidar 3 is held at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2006, Melinda Zeder discovered leg and foot bones from a tenth Neanderthal, now known as Shanidars 10. The best known of the Neanderthal at the site are ShanidAr 1, who survived several injuries during his life, and ShanidAR 4, the famed ‘flower burial’ Until this discovery, Cro-Magnons, the earliest known H. sapiens in Europe, were the only individuals known for purposeful, ritualistic burials. The site is located within the Zagros Mountains and is located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, near the city of Erbil and the town of Mosul in the north of the country.
It is also known as Forestier’s Cave, after the Forestier Forestier National Park, which is located on the opposite side of the mountain from Erbil. It was discovered in the 1950s by an archaeologist from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is now home to the National Museum of Natural History and the Iraq Museum of Science and Industry. The bones of the first nine individuals were found in a layer of stone tools including points, side-scrapers, and flakes and bones from animals including wild goats and spur-thighed tortoises. These bones were later found to be from a Neanderthal known as ‘Nandy’ who was aged between 30 and 45 years. He was one of four reasonably complete skeletons from the cave which displayed trauma-related abnormalities, which in his case would have been debilitating to the point of making day-to-day life painful. He had a cranial capacity of 1,600 cm3.