Parts of the walls show signs of fire damage, with the stalagmites blackened or reddened, and fractured from the heat. This suggests that early humans created fire in order to obtain a source of light inside the cave. Photograph: Etienne Fabre/SSAC
May 26, 2016
#AceHistoryNews – June.24: French researchers have discovered at the depths of a cave in southwestern France circular structures made of broken stalagmites were raised by ancient man at least 175,000 years ago, proving that ancient mankind was much more sophisticated than previously believed. Researchers believe that the enigmatic underground chambers were raised by the Neanderthals.
This discovery provides the first conclusive piece of evidence that proves ancient man explored the underworld. It is still unclear whether the underground structures were used as a refuge or had a symbolic meaning to Neanderthals.
“This is completely different to anything we have seen before. I find it very mysterious,” said Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University, who was not involved in the research
The Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for hundreds of thousands of years to about 40,000 ago, when they mysteriously disappeared after the arrival of modern humans. Archaeology has allowed us to understand how these ancient humans lived hundreds of thousands of years ago, and while archaeological records explain many features on their way of life, their food, and sociological interaction, little was known about their building skills which were believed to be extremely primitive.
The team of researchers lead by Jacques Jaubert from the University of Bordeaux, discovered nearly 400 fragments of stalactites and stalagmites stacked in several structures, including two with a circular shape, about 300 meters from the entrance of the Bruniquel cave. One of the intricate structures is 2 m wide and the other over 6.7 meters. The largest is composed of a “wall” made of up to four superimposed layers of stalagmite fragments of about 30 cm in length, with smaller elements glued obliquely in the middle.