E-monograph Series. No. 6

Two SE Spanish middle palaeolithic sites with Neanderthal remains: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo and Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (Murcia province)

M. J. Walker, F.S.A. 1 and J. Gibert 2

with collaborating scientists:
F. Sánchez López 2, A.V. Lombardi 3, I. Serrano 1, A. Eastham 4, F. Ribot 2, A. Arribas 5, A. Cuenca 6, J-A. Sánchez Cabeza 7, J. García Orellana 7, L. Gibert 2, S. Albadalejo 2 and J.A. Andreu 1

1 Área de Antropología Física, Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 MURCIA, Murcia. Spain.
2 Institut Paleontològic Dr. M. Crusafont, Diputació de Barcelona, Carrer de l'Escola Industrial 23, 08201 SABADELL, Barcelona, Spain. Fax: 00 34 93 727 6641.
3 2602 Wilmington Road, NEW CASTLE, Pennsylvania PA 16105, U.S.A. (Visiting Lecturer, Harvard University Dental School)
4 Cleddau Laboratory for Archaeozoological Analysis, Dolau, Dwrbach, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA65 9RN, United Kingdom
5 Instituto Tecnológico GeoMinero de España, Calle Ríos Rosas 23, Madrid, Spain
6 Laboratorio de Carreteras, Servicio Territorial de Carreteras, Carretera de Madrid s/n, Alicante, Spain
7 Departament de Física, Facultat de Ciñncies, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
M.J Walker walker@fcu.um.es, A.V Lombardi vlombardi@pathway.net, J-A. Sánchez Cabeza ja.sanchez@cc.uab.es

Cite this as: Walker, M.J. et al. 1998 Two SE Spanish middle palaeolithic sites with Neanderthal remains: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo and Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar(Murcia province), Internet Archaeology 5. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.5.5


This article presents preliminary findings from excavations at two recently-discovered cave sites in Murcia (SE. Spain) with Neanderthal hominid skeletal remains, middle palaeolithic tools, and early Upper Pleistocene faunal remains. The sites are in contrasting environments, the shaft of Sima de las Palomas being near the coast whereas the Cueva Negra rock-shelter is in the hinterland. The origins and development of the field research project are outlined with special reference to strategical and methodological considerations.

Cueva Negra has afforded half-a-dozen adult Neanderthal teeth and the shaft of a forearm bone. Sima de las Palomas suffered damage from nineteenth-century mining that exposed an 18-metre-high column of breccia in a natural shaft, and geophysical determinations suggest that it spans a period from roughly 125,000 to 50,000 BP. Adult and juvenile Neanderthal teeth and bones have been excavated at the top of the column and many others have been found sifting mine rubble both outside the cavern and on the floor inside, some of which have characteristics that are more in keeping with pre-Neanderthal morphology.

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Last updated: Wed Dec 23 1998