Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Silly picture


Here is the silly picture of hunting Neandertals, from which I derived some of my comments. Note the garments. If you do, you'll see why it's silly.
Anne G

7 comments:

Tim said...

Anne - thanks very much for putting up a link to me, and also well done on getting such a good blog together, especially now you're updating more often.

It's very difficult to imagine exactly how Neanderthals may have dressed, and as bone needles don't seem to appear much, if at all, in Neanderthal finds, I think the assumption is made that because they supposedly couldn't sew fabrics together, their clothes, if they had any, would be fairly rough and ready, as depicted in the Boston Globe image. Maybe.

Anne Gilbert said...

tim:

Just to try to answer your questions, I've seen pictures of Chatelperronian bone awls from Arcy-sur-Cure. Since awls punch hoes, it's possible that Neandertals were able to take pieces of skin and punch holes around the garments, and use sinew to stitch or tie them together in some way. Might have been a bit "crude", but it probably would have been protective enough.
Anne G

Tim said...

Thanks for those details of awls - and thinking about it further, any sufficiently sharp and pointed stone tool could have been used to punch holes through animal hides.

I wonder if Neanderthals were able to weave, or at least construct, woollen garments - pretty time consuming, not to say difficult, but during cold snaps, I imagine there was a good supply of woolly animals from which to garner material, and being a bright lot, I can imagine Neanderthals exploiting such a resource.

Anne Gilbert said...

Tim:

Well, at least one author, in a book called To the Arctic, half-jokingly suggested Neandertals might have invented felt! It's also possible they may have braided sinews in thin strips, for various purposes, but since these things don't generally survive, this is unknown.

Tim said...

I half dream of the day when someone finds the Neanderthal equivalent of Otzi the iceman, preserved intact with clothes etc, in a frozen or glacial context - maybe we'd even be able to put the 'hairy Neanderthals' debate to rest as well - with all this warming climate, who knows what may one day erode out of the ice somewhere.

I'm sure that Neanderthals would have found an alternative to draping animal skins over themselves, but as you say, the chances of any organic materials surviving are vanishingly small.

Anne Gilbert said...

Tim:

It would be nice to find a Neandertal equivalent of Otzi the Iceman. Think how much DNA could be recovered. But the chances of doing that are also vanishingly small, since the movements of the glaciers probably crushed any "flash-frozen" Neandertals into dust. Or at least, that's what I was told, by somebody who apparently knew what they were talking about, some years back.

Tim said...

Hi Anne - I'm fairly sure no such find will ever be made - it would have to be one of those 'impossible' discoveries, maybe a wind-dried and intact 'mummy from somewhere like Mongolia - I think high on the list of my favourite hypothetical finds would be the Neanderthal equivalent of an igloo, with of course that all-important, fully clothed Neanderthal entombed within it.