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 Roc de Marsal

Neandertal Burial? - A Second Pit


What we propose is to excavate the fill of the current feature in a series of vertical “slices” approximately 20 cm thick, preserving the bedrock sides.

Detailed analysis of these bedrock sides should yield some evidence of the origin of the feature, but definite proof will be available by showing either that the cavity continues under the bedrock in the back of the cave (indicating an endokarstic tube), or that it has a definite back to it (thus indicating a pit).

If it is a deliberate pit, this technique of excavating in vertical slices will also provide the best documentation of the fill within it.

There is, of course, the possibility that the analogy between this feature and the original pit found by Lafille works the other way, and that both contain hominin remains. In this case, the excavation techniques will be reevaluated as circumstances warrant.

It should be noted that dosimeters were placed in these fill deposits in 2006, and will therefore provide background radiation estimates for any dating samples found within it (teeth for ESR, burned flint for TL).