For decades, scholars had questioned the existence and evidence for burial in Western Europe prior to the arrival of Anatomically Modern Humans. However, most now agree that Neanderthals did bury their dead, with over 20 sites known throughout Europe.
La Chapelle-aux-Saints which borders the Sourdoire valley in south-western France, was first excavated in 1908, and remains were discovered in a shallow depression within the cave. This discovery sparked the debate on burial ritual by Neanderthals.
Academic arguments on potential for Neanderthal burial
The cave also revealed hundreds of artefacts belonging to the late Mousterian culture along with the well preserved skeleton of an adult Neanderthal man who appeared to have been intentionally buried in a rectangular pit 30 centimetres deep, 1.45 metres long and 1 metre wide.
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