Below you will find an overview of our projects in Germany:
So far there have been no caves discovered in Germany that contain convincing evidence of the presence of Ice Age cave art. The Neanderthal Museum has been active in research in French and Spanish caves for many years, has an impressive photographic collection of Ice Age art courtesy of the work of Heinrich Wendel, and is in contact with German cave research groups. For these reasons, the Neanderthal Museum is the first point of contact for those who have questions about this subject. All of the supposed discoveries of cave art in Germany have one thing in common: not one of the locations in question contains a convincing, easily recognisable motif. In every case the evidence consists of no more than residues and remains, the origins of which are unclear, and for which creation by humans is only one of many possibilities. So far it seems as if, although caves in Germany were unquestionable sought after by Ice Age hunters, they served a different purpose to that of caves in France and Spain.
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The Feldhofer Cave is world-renowned as the discovery site of Neanderthals. Excavations in 1997 and 2000 by the Rhineland Department of Archaeological and Natural Heritage yielded, along with human bones, stone artefacts and the remains of prey animals. These finds, together with the knowledge gained from other Neanderthal find sites in central Europe, lead us to believe that the gentle hills and low valleys of the Neander area were an ideal location for Neanderthals to live. There are many Neanderthal sites from the late Stone Age which correspond to this view. There are, however, none from the final stages of the Ice Age. Through systematic surveying and regular mapping of sites, our knowledge should be continuously improved.
Since 2003, in cooperation with the Rhineland Department of Archaeological and Natural Heritage in Overath, the Neanderthal museum has overseen the volunteer heritage workers throughout the region in matters to do with the Stone Age. Through theoretical and practical instruction, the recognition and identification of stone artefacts and other skills are imparted. New finds, in particular, are intensively discussed. This is a basic prerequisite for the future discovery of other Ice Age sites. Since 2010, the Neanderthal Museum has held a quarterly 'Artefact Identification Day' and, with luck, this may yield Neanderthal artefacts.
The period between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago is an extremely interesting one for archaeological researchers, and one with many unanswered questions. Time and again the media focuses on the human fossils from this period: Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans. These rare fossils are not, however, the only available sources of information; the analysis of stone artefact technology is a consistent source of insights into the behaviour of our ancestors. The reason for this is the degree of planning necessary to effectively work stone. This depth of planning can be, in large part, reconstructed. The Neanderthal Museum concentrates its work on the analysis, using the latest methods, of important sites from the period of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition, without necessarily carrying out the excavations itself. Among these sites are Salzgitter-Lebenstedt (Lower Saxony), Balver Cave, and Lommersum (both in NRW).
Technological Knowledge in the late Middle Palaeolithic and Early Upper Palaeolithic
Pastoors, Andreas (1998): Nouveau regard sur un site paléolithique moyen de plein air: Salzgitter-Lebenstedt (RFA). In: L'Anthropologie 102 (4), S. 523-532.
Pastoors, Andreas (2001): Die mittelpaläolithische Freilandstation von Salzgitter-Lebenstedt. Genese der Fundstelle und Systematik der Steinbearbeitung. Braunschweig: Ruth Printmedien (Salzgitter Forschungen, 3).
Pastoors, Andreas (2009): Blades ? - Thanks, no interest ! Neanderthals in Salzgitter-Lebenstedt. In: Quartär 56, S. 105-118.
Pastoors, Andreas; Schäfer, Joachim (1999): Analyse des états techniques de transformation, d'utilisation et états post dépositionnels. Illustrée par un outil bifacial de Salzgitter-Lebenstedt (FRG). In: Préhistoire Européenne 14, S. 33-47.
Pastoors, Andreas; Tafelmaier, Yvonne (2010): Bladelet production, core reduction strategies, and efficiency of core configuration at the Middle Palaeolithic site Balver Höhle (North Rhine Westphalia, Germany). In: Quartär 57, S. 25-41.
Pastoors, Andreas; Tafelmaier, Yvonne (2012): What about flakes? - Flake production, core reduction strategies in the Aurignacian of the Rhineland: Lommersum IIc (North Rhine Westphalia) and Wildscheuer III (Hessen). In: Andreas Pastoors und Marco Peresani (Hg.): Flakes not blades. The role of flake production at the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe. Mettmann: Neanderthal Museum (Wissenschaftliche Schriften des Neanderthal Museums, 5), S. 165-180.