One of the main pieces of evidence in the Neanderthal sites in Gibraltar is the large number of stone tools and waste flakes, resulting from the process of tool making. These tools were made through percussion, hitting a selected stone with a hammer. The hammer could have been be a harder stone, a deer antler or even a bone which would have been used for retouching the tool’s edges. The most usual rocks used by Neanderthals in Gibraltar were flint or proto-quartzites which they obtained from sources near to the caves. Some of these sources of rocks have been identified by Gibraltar National Museum scientists on the seabed, at depths of around 30-metres today. These areas would have been exposed when sea levels were lower than today and the Neanderthals could access them on foot.
The two flakes in the image, of flint (left) and proto-quartzite (right), were found in Gorham’s Cave in levels dated to approximately 60 thousand years’ ago.
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