Sites & cities that bear the name of Mezmaiskaya cave

Mezmaiskaya cave

Today in : Russian Federation
First trace of activity : ca. 68,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 38,000 B.C.E
Recorded names : Мезмайская пещера

Description : Initial excavations in the Mezmaiskaya cave recovered Mousterian artifacts of the Last glacial period. The Late Middle Paleolithic stratigraphic layers at Mezmaiskaya are composed of 7 layers, dating from roughly 70,000 to 40,000 BP. Three Neanderthal individuals were recovered from the cave. The first, Mezmaiskaya 1, was recovered in 1993 and is an almost complete skeleton in a well preserved state due to calcite cementation that covers and holds the arrangement in place. It was assessed to be an infant about two weeks old, making it the youngest Neanderthal ever recovered. Although no burial pit was found, circumstances suggest that the body was buried intentionally, explaining the good state of preservation and the lack of scavenger marks. Mesmaikaya 1 was recovered from Layer 3, the oldest Late Middle Paleolithic layer at the site. Mezmaiskaya 1 is indirectly dated to around 70-60,000 years old. Additionally, 24 skull fragments of a 1- to 2-year-old Neanderthal child - Mezmaiskaya 2 - were found in 1994. A recovered tooth was assigned to Mezmaiskaya 3. Mezmaiskaya 2 was recovered from Layer 2, the youngest Late Middle Paleolithic layer, and directly dated to around 44,600-42,960 BP. DNA analysis reveals that Mesmaiskaya 2 was male.

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