Scientists have stumbled upon a long-lost home for Neanderthals believed to have been lost through excavation 100 years ago.
In 2011, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) scientists found preserved geological deposits in a cave on the island of Jersey, located off the coast of Normandy, France. The site, which houses sediments that date back to the last Ice Age, contains the only known late Neanderthal remains in northwestern Europe.
"We were sure from the outset that the deposits held some archaeological potential, but these dates indicate we have uncovered something exceptional," Dr. Matt Pope of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, who helped lead the research, said in a statement. "We have a sequence of deposits which span the last 120,000 years still preserved at the site. Crucially, this covers the period in which Neanderthal populations apparently went 'extinct.'"
Other excavations took place at the site in the 1960s and 1970s, which uncovered remains from Pleistocene mammals, including a pile of bones and teeth of woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. The latest excavation is the first to take place at the site since the early 1980s.