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Shanidar is a cave in northern Iraq where remains of Neanderthals have been found. The neanderthals are thought to have lived about 60,000 years ago.

Ralph Solecki discovered nine neanderthal skeletons in the cave between 1953 and 1960. The skeletons have been labelled Shanidar 1 to Shanidar 9. The remains suggest thast neandertals had funeral ceremonies, burying their dead with flowers, and that injured individuals were looked after by their fellows.

Table of contents
1 Shanidar 1
2 Shanidar 2
3 Shanidar 3
4 Shanider 4, the "flower burial"

Shanidar 1

This is an adult male. He had injuries to his left eye which probably caused temporary or permanent blindness in this eye. His right leg is withered. The metatarsals in his right foot suffered a fracture injury. Both the foot injury and the eye injury show signs of healing, suggesting he didn't die from them. He was about 40 years old when he died, a long time for neanderthals (and for modern humans living in hunter-gatherer societies).

Shanidar 2

Shanidar 2 was an adult male, who evidently died in a rock fall inside the cave, as his skull and bones were crushed.

There is evidence that Shanidar 2 was given a ritual send-off: a small pile of stones with some worked stone points (made out of chert) were found on top of his grave. Also, there had been a large fire by the grave, with a concentration of split and broken animal bones nearby, suggesting a funeral ceremony involving consumption of food had been held.

Shanidar 3

Shanidar 3, another adult male, also died in a rock fall in the cave. He was buried in the same grave as Shanidar 1 and 2.

Shanider 4, the "flower burial"

Shanidar 4 was an adult male.

Seeds and pollen were found around his grave, suggesting they have been deliberately put there as part of funeral practises. The plants used were: grape hyacinths, bachelor's buttons, hollyhock and yellow flowering groundsel.