Earth's Children
Cave 2

Shanidar Cave entrance

Shanidar Cave site is located in the Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan in Iraq. It was excavated between 1957-1961 by Ralph Solecki and his team from Columbia University and yielded the first adult Neanderthal skeletons in Iraq, dating between 60-80,000 years BP. The excavated area produced nine skeletons of Neanderthals of varying ages and states of preservation and completeness (labeled Shanidar I - IX). The remains suggest that Neanderthals had funeral ceremonies, burying their dead with flowers, and took care of injured individuals.

Shanidar Cave is the basis for the Clan's cave in The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Shanidar I was the inspiration for Creb and Iza portrayed Shanidar IV.


Excavation in the Shanidar Cave. Conditions are obviously difficult and dangerous, and there is a considerable depth of sediments