Researchers exploring a network of caves in the rocks of Gibraltar have come across a unique one which used isolated for at least 40 000 years. This cave has huge significance for the studies of customs and lifestyle of Neanderthals who populated this area for many centuries. The importance of the discovery of this cave has already been compared to the discovery of the Tomb of Tut Ankh Amun in Egypt.
Where is the cave populated by prehistoric people located?
The researchers working in Gibraltar were studying the complex of Gorham’s Caves. One of the caves of this complex is Vanguard Cave which turned out to be a real room where Neanderthals left their possessions.
In 2012, the complex of the Gorham’s Caves has already been listed as a candidate of the UNESCO world heritage. Since that year, researchers have been studying the rocks quite actively. Their major aim was understanding the real size of the rocks and identify any hidden passages which might not be visible under the layers of sand.
This summer, the team of the National Museum of Gibraltar were exploring the rocks when they found empty spaces in the layers of rocks. The exploration of the space lead the scientists to a cave of a total area of 13 square metres.
Why is the discovery thus important?
The passages leading to the cave were closed for over 40 000 years which means no one has been here for tens of thousands of years. This makes the prehistoric room in the rocks fantastic.
The group of the researchers have already found animal bones in the cave. The bones located in Vanguard Cave belonged to such animals as a spotted hyena, lynxes and others. According to the scientists, in all likelihood, these animals did not get there on their own.
The cave is being actively studied right now while other caves of the complex have already been explored by scientists who found there the remains of more exotic animals. Some of them belonged to dolphins and harbour seals. On top of that, in one of the caves of the complex, scientists found a milk tooth of a Neanderthal child.
What is the plan of future research?
Now, the research group is going to look for other side passages connected to Vanguard Cave. In order to do that, they are going to explore the top of the cave. The scientists also hope to find the burial places of the prehistoric people nearby the cave.