The Gorham's Cave Complex in Gibraltar, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, is becoming increasingly famous around the world thanks to recent high-profile TV coverage. A team led by the Gibraltar Museum recently began another season of excavations at the caves, and was featured by Japanese channel NHK in the second episode of its new series Leaving the Cradle.
The programme is believed to have been watched by about ten million people and was ranked as one of the most popular on NHK's on-demand service. It is understood that NHK is currently working on an English-language version of the series, which should be completed by the end of August.
Earlier, the work of the Gibraltar Museum team at the Gorham's Cave Complex also received prime coverage in a BBC Two series entitled Meet Your Ancestors, featuring Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Planet of the Apes. The first ever scientifically accurate, 3D, working avatar of a real Neanderthal was created for the series, in which Gorham's and Vanguard Caves were included as sites which have revolutionised our understanding of Neanderthal behaviour.
Professor Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum, who has been involved in the cave project for over 20 years, described the complex as a unique world treasure.
"We plan each season's work meticulously but we just never know what surprises are awaiting us," he said. He is convinced that the prospects for the future are very bright.
"This project is now not just about the excavations themselves. Thanks to this cutting-edge work, we now have a wonderful platform as leaders in this field and we should make the most of this at all levels," he said.