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NARRATOR Below this valley floor lies the El Sidron cave system. He is on his way from the University of Oviedo to the annual dig.
Here, a forensics investigation has been in progress for more than a decade. NARRATOR Scientists across Spain have joined forces. NARRATOR He’s headed to a river valley in the Asturias region of northern Spain.
A tomb of 49,000 year-old Neanderthal bones discovered in El Sidron, a remote, mountainous region of Northern Spain, leads to a compelling investigation to solve a double mystery: How did this group of Neanderthals die?
And, could the fate of this group help explain Neanderthal extinction?
The location where the bones were found is now known as the Ossuary Gallery. NARRATOR Most of the young researchers who join the dig are Marco’s students.
They come every summer to spend up to a month working the site.
Scientists examine the bones—buried over 65 feet below ground—and discover signs that tell a shocking story of how this group of six adults, three teenagers, two children and a baby may have met their death.
Some bones have deep cuts, long bones are cracked and skulls crushed—distinct signs of cannibalism. Neanderthal experts are adamant that they were not bloodthirsty brutes. What happened here 49000 years ago will take us on a much bigger journey—from El Sidron to the other end of the Iberian Peninsula where scientists are excavating beneath the seas off Gibraltar in search of Neanderthal sites.
They were discovered in March 1994, when cavers exploring the El Sidrón cave system climbed into a small side gallery off of the cave’s main tunnel. Looks like human bones NARRATOR The remains are reported to authorities and partial skeletons of 4 humans are exhumed. Police and cavers note that the bones don’t look very old. They believe they are looking at the remains of victims of the Spanish civil war.Scientists working here had theories—but no proof—for why Neanderthals went extinct. A Terra Mater Factual Studios Gmb H production in association with THIRTEEN Narrator: Jay O.Sanders Writer/Director: Ruth Berry Executive Producers, Terra Mater: Andrea Gastgeb, Sabine Holzer Executive in Charge: Stephen Segaller Executive Producer: Steve Burns (c) 2013 Terra Mater Factual Studios Gmb H Narrator Deep inside a remote cave system in Northern Spain, a gruesome investigation is underway.John Hawks “They couldn’t see yet there were cut marks on the bones clear signs of cannibalism” Narrator In Madrid, investigators compared the bones to other human remains. These bones came from another time, and belonged to another people. From the cliffs of Gibraltar to the depths of El Sidrón cave, scientists must reach back in time to identify the dead and reconstruct their final days.
But can they find enough evidence to crack this prehistoric cold case? Carles Lalueza-Fox, a world-renowned geneticist from Barcelona, hunts for ancient DNA. Marco de la Rasilla is in charge of the excavation.NARRATOR The Ossuary gallery is more than 700 feet from the main entrance. The cave can sometimes be an extremely dangerous place to work.