A Neandertal mortuary in Spain?09 Oct 2012
El Pais has a fascinating story about the Paleolithic sites in the Lozoya river valley: “A Neanderthal trove in Madrid”.
It was on the floor of Des-Cubierta that the Neanderthal must have placed the dead body of a small child aged two-and-a-half to three years old. They placed two slabs of stone and an aurochs horn on top, and set the body on fire. [Enrique] Baquedano explains that they found some of the child's teeth - they call it a little girl, although they have no scientific evidence of its gender - as well as a piece of coal that turned up just a few days ago and which will enable precise dating. "Complete burials, with a clear structure that allows [researchers] to reconstruct behaviors, is a very rare thing in any part of the world," says [Juan-Luis] Arsuaga, who is also co-director of the excavations at the major prehistoric site of Atapuerca.
This one sounds like an incredible context, if it really is as described.
Arsuaga is author of The Neanderthal’s Necklace.