Archaeology of Neanderthal Extinction

What’s the story?

Hi, I’m Dr Ladislav Nejman, a young archaeology researcher (Masaryk University; see also http://www.jcmm.cz/en/nejman.html). My team want to complete an archaeology dig in Pod Hradem Cave in the Czech Republic, a site occupied by both Neanderthals and modern humans (Homo sapiens). We need your help to do it!

The site is located in the spectacular Moravian Karst region near Macocha abyss, one of the deepest abysses in central Europe. It is directly underneath the ruins of a Medieval castle. Wandering around this mysterious fortress is remarkable – few tourists visit so it is effectively a playground for the local community and excited archaeologists!

In 2011 and 2012 we excavated Pod Hradem Cave using EU and SoMoPro funding. Radiocarbon dates showed us people were visiting this cave between 50,000 – 30,000 years ago. During fieldwork we excavated portable art objects, stone blades, the remains of cave bears, mammoths and woolly rhinos (http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/nejman337/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC6uXebJMNo). What we have not done is complete the excavation, going back to a time when only Neanderthals walked the Moravian plains.

If we can get funding we hope to finish excavations at Pod Hradem Cave, allowing us to fit the final piece in the Pod Hradem puzzle. This will involve digging two 1 x 1 metre units at the base of the existing trench. Previous excavation, 2-3 m from our trench reached a depth of 4 m. The current depth of our excavation is 3 m, so 2 weeks should be adequate to reach the base. All excavated materials will be sieved, then brought to a Masaryk University laboratory for sorting and analysis. We hope you will join us for this adventure!

Check out our Facebook group ‚Pod Hradem Cave Archaeological Project‘.

What We Need & What You Get

We require $4400 to complete research at Pod Hradem. We will pay for our own flights. The $4400 will cover setting up the site, vehicle rental and fuel for 3 weeks, some meals for excavation volunteers.

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