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Neanderthals buried their dead. With flowers.

You know I have a thing for Neanderthals. I read many years ago that they buried their dead with flowers. They knew because archeologists found flower pollen on top of the bones.

I didn’t realize there was doubt cast upon it subsequently. For example, because rodents sometimes carry flowers into their burrows in that cave. That fact astonished me, but then again it didn’t. I gave a pet mouse a flower once and she spent the afternoon sticking her whole head in it to sniff.

I digress.

They’ve found another burial and it again they found flower pollen and signs of digging. But they were more careful excavating this one.

Another win for muh bois.

p.s. all the current links in the sidebar of that New Scientist article linked above are about Coronavirus. I’m’a go read them. Some very interesting comments on that topic from readers in the thread below this one.


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 20, 2020, 11:58 pm

Flower pollen, for example, saffron, was a very common spice used for adding flavor to food.

I just made that up. 1 Troll point for me.

Seriously though, I see no reason why Neanderthals couldn’t have found nature beautiful enough to want to put beautiful things in the grave of someone they probably loved. I mean, they went to the effort to BURY them for heaven sake, that kinda says something, right?

I don’t buy any idea that they weren’t just the farm tractor model built on a more robust chassis than the sporty homo sapiens model.

I would especially enjoy it if they found out they built unexplained prehistory constructions like Stonehenge, for example.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 21, 2020, 12:00 am

“There are burrowing rodents that use the cave and they sometimes take flowers into their burrows,” says Pomeroy. Some of the workmen helping with the dig also carried flowers.”

I’m very curious about that last sentence…

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: February 21, 2020, 5:58 am

S. Weasel:

A change of subject, but I just ran across something and you are the only person I know of who lives in a house, at least part of which may be old enough for this to be possibly applicable.

There are, apparently, deliberately made candle burn marks in the structure of buildings dating from medieval times, as described by this Norfolk Medieval survey. They are fairly common, yet the reason for them is open to question. I offer this link which describes them and their commonality and lists possible reasons for them being applied.


Don’t know if you will find this of interest, but I offer it. If you have them, you can ponder the listed possible reasons for them.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 21, 2020, 12:51 pm

Neat article @Subotai!

I also learned you shouldn’t stockpile your gunpowder in the basement of your cathedral!

Having grown up where some of the oldest extent houses in North America remain (Salem witches!) I wonder if the Balch House in Beverly Ma or the Rebecca Nurse House in Danvers Ma have taper burns on the timbers.
I realize 1670’s is like Yesterday for houses in Merry Olde.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 21, 2020, 3:20 pm

I attended the funeral of my wife’s father in Japan. The room where the funeral ceremony was held was literally filled with flowers; very beautiful. The funeral was open casket and at the finish of the ritual, we were all given gloves and scissors and as we stood by the casket attendants brought us the bouquets…. and we cut the flowers from their stems until we had filled the casket with the cut flowers. It was beautiful and emotional, and the image still haunts me in an oddly happy and peaceful sort of way.

Comment from cantharkmycry
Time: February 21, 2020, 3:43 pm

Oh, Some Veg, that is a MUCH lovelier tradition than dumping a shovelful of dirt on the grave!

Comment from Jeff Weimer
Time: February 21, 2020, 6:39 pm

@Subotai – beat me to the question!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 21, 2020, 8:41 pm

We’ve never found any burn marks, Subotai Bahadur, though I gather they are often in the attic and we’ve never been in the attic (no floor; you have to step from beam to beam. Also, it’s full of bees).

We do have many witch marks and probably carpenter’s marks. I’ve posted about it occasionally. Like here.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 21, 2020, 10:19 pm

There are bees in the attic on the top of Badger House
There are bees in the attic on the top of Badger House
There are bees
There are bees
There are bees in the top of Badger House.

There are beams for a floor in the top of Badger House….

and so one…

Comment from weasel again
Time: February 21, 2020, 10:54 pm

In the Summer, honey runs down the walls on hot days.

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: February 21, 2020, 11:02 pm

Subotai Bahadur:

What a fascinating article! Thanks for linking it.

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