Were Neanderthals Religious?

Earliest recorded evidence of men deliberately disposing of their dead appears in 225,000 BCE. 5-15 Neanderthal bodies were dated to have been disposed during this time period in Pontnewydd Cave in Wales. Other instances of ritualistic “caching” of bodies during this time can be observed around Europe, like at la Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of the Bones”) at Atapuerca in Spain, where over 32 individuals were found at the bottom of a deep shaft. By about 100,000 BCE, this behavior advances to ceremonial burial, oftentimes with bodies being buried alongside goods. Disposal of the dead, according to researchers, could indicate an early religious practice.

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