Belgium and late surviving Neanderthals

The final trip of the year saw us heading to Brussels to look into the potentially late survival of Neanderthals in Belgium. Previously, we have been involved in dating some of the key Neanderthal remains from Spy and other Belgian sites, which have produced some surprisingly recent results (see Semal et al., 2009). Our Nature paper in 2014 showed that these are amongst the latest in continental Europe too. Our visit was prompted by a nice meeting in Leiden at the ESHE conference with Kevin di Modica and Gregory Abrams of the Scladina team, who, along with Isabelle de Groote of Liverpool John Moores University, have been looking at some of the humanly modified bones from sites like Trou al Wesse, Spy and Goyet, and applying for funding for AMS dating through the NRCF programme. We agreed to come to Brussels to help sample that material and to try and re-sample some of the Spy Neanderthals for dating using our single amino acid HYP protocol.

The work went really well and we succeeded in sampling several key human remains and artefacts. We will now look forward to producing some nice results from the material over the next few months.

Tom and Thibaut with Patrick Semal (second from left) and Gregory Abrams (right).


Semal, P., Rougier, H., Crevecoeur, I., Jungels, C., Flas, D., Hauzeur, A., Maureille, B., Germonpré, M., Bocherens, H., Pirson, S., Cammaert, L., de Clerck, N., Hambucken, A., Higham, T.,Toussaint, M and van der Plicht, J. 2009. New data on the Late Neanderthals: Direct dating of the Belgian Spy fossils. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 138: 421–428.

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