December 29th, 2009
Web-Exclusive Video: Neanderthal Burial?

One of the more controversial aspects of Neanderthal behavior involves the possibility of ritualized burial practices. Proponents of this idea point to several sites around the world where Neanderthal skeletons appear to be deliberately buried along with artifacts or particular plants, for example. If Neanderthals were treating their dead in these specialized ways, it implies rather sophisticated social behavior.

At Roc de Marsal, a Neanderthal site in France, Alan Alda learns that what had been believed to be a purposeful burial of a Neanderthal child now isn’t looking like such solid proof of ritualistic behavior.

In this video, archaeologists Shannon McPherron, Harold Dibble and Dennis Sandgathe explain to Alan why they no longer believe this site is an example of an intentional burial.

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