Discoverer of Axarquía’s Cueva del Boquete de Zafarraya dies

Discoverer of Axarquía’s Cueva del Boquete de Zafarraya dies

Cecilio Barroso was behind one of the most important findings in Spain which is considered key to research into the extinction of Neanderthals

Regina Sotorrío

Monday, 6 February 2023, 12:41

Cecilio Barroso, discoverer of Neanderthal man in the Axarquía's Boquete de Zafarraya cave, died on Saturday, 4 February, at the age of 67 in Rincón de la Victoria.

Barroso found the cave, located near the village of Alcaucín, in 1979, initiating the first official archaeological excavations between 1981 and 1983. The researcher located, among many other traces of the past, an exceptionally well preserved human jawbone, which is now on display at the Museum of Malaga. There are no more than ten Neanderthal jaws in Europe in a similar condition.

International reference point for research

The cave is today a reference point and place of study for scientists from all over the world who believe that this place could hold the key to the extinction of the Neanderthals and an explanation of the relationship between the hominids and modern Homo sapiens.

The work carried out in the Boquete de Zafarraya cave unearthed the remains of 16 Neanderthal bones; two jaws, two femurs, a tibia and other smaller bones, belonging to between nine fifteen individuals. The bones are not associated with burials, so the excavators argue that these human groups did not bury their dead.

The remains were found fragmented, scattered and mixed with the remains of mammals. This, together with other discoveries including tools, has led some scientists to consider the possibility of cannibalism.

Neanderthal bones found in the cave SUR

With a doctorate in Prehistory from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the Cueva del Boquete was the first of a series of discoveries in Andalucíaa that would make Cecilio Barroso an renowned archaeologist.

For 25 years he led excavations at the Cueva del Ángel, a Paleolithic settlement in Lucena (Cordoba) dating back at least 500,000 years, and was the head of the Fundación Instituto de Investigación de Prehistoria y Evolución Humana (human prehistory and evolution foundation investigation institute).



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