shedding light on the origins of culture

The September 20th issue of Science features a report on Dr. Harold Dibble's excavations at the French prehistoric site of La Ferrassie. La Ferrassie has long attracted attention for its potential to provide insight into possible burial practices among Neandertals, which would be a strong indicator of early social bonding and ritual practice.

Dibble and his team are applying new methods and advanced technology to answer the question of whether the remains found at the site truly seem to have been deposited deliberately, or were merely deposited by natural forces mimicking certain elements of burial. The full article can be accessed here. Also, check out the transcript from a live chat on which features Dibble speaking about 'human' traits in Neandertals.

Another recent article, on, discussed the debate between archaeologists as to where and when fire was first used for cooking. One of the theories examined in the story is based on work done by archaeologists including Dr. Dibble at the sites of Pech de l’Azé IV and Roc de Marsal, France.

In 2011, Dibble and his colleagues published a paper on their findings in PaleoAnthropology, concluding that while the Neanderthals living at the sites they examined may have taken advantage of naturally-occuring fires to cook and stay warm, there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that they controlled fire themselves.