Syria has played an important role in the studies of the Neanderthals since 1993, when the first fairly complete fossil specimen of these people was discovered at Dederiyeh Cave in the Afrin Valley of northwestern Syria.
On August 23, 1993 a joint Japan-Syria excavation team discovered fossilized Paleolithic human remains at the Dederiyeh Cave some 400 km north of Damascus. The bones found in this massive cave were those of a Neanderthal child, estimated to have been about two years old, who lived in the Middle Palaeolithic era (ca. 200,000 to 40,000 years ago). Although many Neanderthal bones had been discovered already, this was practically the first time that an almost complete child's skeleton had been found in its original burial state. The discovery has attracted the attention of researchers across the world.
This web site, designed to commemorate the completion of the publication "Neanderthal Burials: Excavations of the Dederiyeh Cave, Afrin, Syria", aims to publicize as widely as possible the results of this Dederiyeh Neanderthal project. Awoken from its long sleep of several tens of thousands of years, we will attempt to ask many questions of the Dederiyeh child, beginning with simple ones such as the form of its body and the type of burial, and moving on to more difficult problems such as whether the Neanderthals became extinct and, if so, what are the origins of modern humans. Through the consideration of these and other basic palaeoanthropological problems, it is hoped that this web will move us a small step closer to understanding the mysterious existence of human beings.