Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan is one of the world's iconic Palaeolithic sites because of the discoveries of a series of Neanderthal burials in it by Ralph Solecki during his excavations in 1952-1960, as well as evidence for early modern humans higher up the stratigraphy. Graeme Barker has been leading a team reinvestigating the site since 2015. In this lecture, he presents their preliminary findings on the character of Neanderthal and modern human uses of the cave, and how the new evidence is contributing to wider debates about how similar or different were Neanderthals and modern humans, and the reasons for the Neanderthal demise.
Graeme Barker is Emeritus Disney Professor of Archaeology and Senior Research Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. His research interests include human/environment interactions, foraging/farming transitions, and the dispersal of modern humans, interests that underpinned field projects in Italy, Jordan, Libya, and Sarawak before his current work in Iraq.