ROME – Italian archaeologists have unearthed fossil remains of nine Neanderthals in a cave near Rome, revealing how the Italian peninsula became populated and under what environmental conditions.
The Italian Ministry of Culture announced the discovery on Saturday, confirming that the Quaternary Cave in San Felice Circio is “one of the most important places in the history of Neanderthals in the world”. The skull was discovered in 1939 by a Neanderthal in a cave.
Fossil bones include skulls, skulls, two teeth and other bone fragments. The oldest remains are believed to be 100,000 to 90,000 years old, while the other eight Neanderthals are believed to have been 50,000-68,000 years old, according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture.
The excavation included part of the cave, which began in 2019, including the lake first mentioned by anthropologist Alberto Carlo Blanc, who was credited with the discovery of the skull by Neanderthal in 1939.
Culture Minister Tario Francescini called the discovery “the world’s most extraordinary invention.”
Anthropologist Moro Roubini says numerous survivors suggest a substantial population of Neanderthals, “the first human community we could speak of.”
Archaeologists say the cave was fully preserved 50,000 years ago. Remains of fossil animals found in the cave – such as elephant, rhinoceros and giant deer – shed light on the region’s flora and fauna and its climatic history.