Old Stone Age

La Ferrassie

The La Ferrassie project is a large, multi-year project funded by the National Science Foundation and the French government at the famous Neanderal site. The goals of the project are to shed new light on the context of the Neandertal skeletons and particularly the questin of whether they represent burials, to provide ages for the sequence, to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental context of the deposits, and to better understand the stone tool industries which include a Mousterian with bifaces under a Ferrassie Mousterian, a Chatelperronian and an Aurignacian. La Ferrassie is one of the few sites in southwest France that preserves the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition when modern humans replaced Neandertals in western Europe.

Here we give a brief overview of the history of the site and our excavations.


The La Ferrassie excavations are a large collaborative effort involving a number of institutions. Direct financial support for the excavations comes from the Nation Science Foundation (PIs Dibble and Turq), the Leakey Foundation, the Max Planck Society, and the Service Regional de Archaeologie.


Additional support comes from OSA. We thank the National Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies, and the many local individuals that have helped make this project possible. A special thanks goes to all of the student volunteers without whom this project would not be possible.