If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Neanderthal Man

I am fascinated by archaeology. In fact, if I could have my time over again, I would try a little bit harder at the science thing at school and do a degree in it, and then get a career going all over the place digging stuff up. I could do all the reading and lit-crit stuff in my spare time, like most normal people.

So I was interested to read about recent discoveries at the site of La Cotte de St Brelade on Jersey, which was inhabited by Neanderthals for around 250,000 years, off and on. They were expert tool-makers and only abandoned the site during the coldest periods of the Ice Ages (I'm guessing they retreated across the land bridge to France for a bit of warm weather and decent cheese). And when the ice retreated, did they thank global warming for the chance to get back to La Cotte de St Brelade and carry on knapping them flints? They certainly didn't say "it's the end of the world" and give up. (And when they got there, after several generations in another country, did they find the flints their ancestors had left and think "yeah, we did that" and carry on? Or did they think there were giants about and crap themselves?)

The excavation will be featured in a BBC2 series in September called Digging For Britain, and I will be watching, especially as it also features the extremely cute Dr Alice Roberts.

But this post was mainly an excuse for a rather poor joke:

"I'm a Neanderthal Man", ba-doom

Labour peer Dr Robert Winston, recently

Yeah, I know. Cheap shot.


  1. Fascinating stuff; on the related subject of man interbreeding with Neanderthalls, I used to think that a persons degree of ugliness was linked to the proportion of Neanderthall DNA that they carried but later dismissed this as outrageous racism, or perhaps speciesism.

  2. Cheap shot??? but right on target m8!


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