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Grotte Mandrin

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Grotte Mandrin
LocationMalataverne, Drôme, France
Coordinates44°28′10.4″N 4°46′16.9″E / 44.469556°N 4.771361°E / 44.469556; 4.771361
Depth8 metres (26 ft)
Elevation245 metres (804 ft)

The Grotte Mandrin is a cave near Montélimar. It is near the small French town Malaverne, in the Drôme department. It is more like a shelter, that protects from the weather, and not really a cave. It is an archeological site: There are many well-preserved finds from the transition from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic. The oldest layer of finds is 120,000 years old.[1]

It is named after the French folk hero Louis Mandrin. [2]

Location[change | change source]

The Abri is about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) southeast of Malataverne town center. It is at the foot of an exposed limestone cliff at 245 m height. At the site, the valley is very narrow, only about 350 metres (1,150 ft). Important traffic routes pass through there: the A7, N7, D169 and the high-speed line LGV Méditerranée .

Topography[change | change source]

Today, the Grotte Mandrin has a depth of 8 metres (26 ft). At some point part of it collapsed. Today, large boulders on the slope below are still there. The covered area was originally much larger. There is an opening of about 12 metres (39 ft) facing north. At the front, the cave has a height of about 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in). From the middle of the cave, it gets lower. At the back, the height is about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) less.

In 2013, a fence was built on the space in front of the case. In 2016, video surveillance was installed.[3]

History[change | change source]

When he found traces Bronze Age settlements there in 1960, Gaston Etienne (1923-2010) recognized that the case was important for archaeology.[2] Etienne was a councillor in Malaverne. Since 1993, there have been excavations each year. Since 2006, Ludovic Slimak - a research associate from the University of Toulouse and the CNRS is overseeing these excavations. There are twelve cultural layers at the site, In 2014, seven layers had been excavated. The layers date from 42.000 BP (called early Aurigacien) to 56,000 BP (La Quina-Mousterian).[4]

The oldest known evidence of anatomically-modern humans (homo sapiens) in Europe was found in the Batcho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. This evidence is 45,820 to 43,650 years (Cal BP) old.[5] In February 2022, it was announced that part of a tooth was found at the Mandrin Cave. It came from a layer of the Mandrin Cave under and over which Neanderthal remains have been recovered, but this "baby tooth" has been attributed to a child of Homo sapiens. [6] Articles in the Journals Science, as well as in Nature, said that the tooth was too badly damaged to be able to tell with certainty if it was from a Neanderthal, or a human.[7][8]

Literature[change | change source]

  • Laure Metz, Ludovic Slmak, "La Grotte Mandrin, derniers Néandertaliens et premiers Hommes modernes en vallée du Rhône", Archéologia, n°555, June 2017, pp.20 à 29.
  • Pascal Picq, Le retour de Madame Néandertal : comment être sapiens ?, Odile Jacob, 2015, p. 224 ISBN 2738131530.
  • Svante Pääbo, Néandertal, à la recherche des génomes perdus, Éditions LLL, 2015, p. 400 ISBN 2330078668.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Homo Sapiens, arrivé trop tôt..." Archived from the original on 2016-04-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Origine du nom de la Grotte Mandrin…" (in French). Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  3. Autour de la Grotte Mandrin à Malataverne (Drôme) Entretien avec Ludovic Slimak. Ardèche Archéologie. 2015. n° 32, S. 3–10 (französisch)
  4. PLOS One - Convergent Evidence of Eagle Talons Used by Late Neanderthals in Europe: A Further Assessment on Symbolism (englisch), abgerufen am 6. Oktober 2016
  5. Fewlass, Helen; Talamo, Sahra; Wacker, Lukas; Kromer, Bernd; Tuna, Thibaut; Fagault, Yoann; Bard, Edouard; McPherron, Shannon P.; Aldeias, Vera; Maria, Raquel; Martisius, Naomi L.; Paskulin, Lindsay; Rezek, Zeljko; Sinet-Mathiot, Virginie; Sirakova, Svoboda; Smith, Geoffrey M.; Spasov, Rosen; Welker, Frido; Sirakov, Nikolay; Tsanova, Tsenka; Hublin, Jean-Jacques (11 May 2020). "A 14C chronology for the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition at Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 4 (6): 794–801. doi:10.1038/s41559-020-1136-3. PMID 32393865. S2CID 218593433.
  6. Slimak, Ludovic; Zanolli, Clément; Higham, Tom; Frouin, Marine; Schwenninger, Jean-Luc; Arnold, Lee J.; Demuro, Martina; Douka, Katerina; Mercier, Norbert; Guérin, Gilles; Valladas, Hélène; Yvorra, Pascale; Giraud, Yves; Seguin-Orlando, Andaine; Orlando, Ludovic; Lewis, Jason E.; Muth, Xavier; Camus, Hubert; Vandevelde, Ségolène; Buckley, Mike; Mallol, Carolina; Stringer, Chris; Metz, Laure (11 February 2022). "Modern human incursion into Neanderthal territories 54,000 years ago at Mandrin, France". Science Advances. 8 (6): eabj9496. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abj9496. PMC 8827661. PMID 35138885.
  7. Did Neanderthals and modern humans take turns living in a French cave? Auf: science.org vom 9. Februar 2022.
  8. Evidence of Europe’s first Homo sapiens found in French cave. Auf: nature.com vom 9. Februar 2022.