Furninha, also known as Dominique's cave, is a natural cave on the southern slope of the Peniche peninsula in Portugal. The cave is situated on the cliffs between the Peniche Fortress and the Cape Carvoeiro.[1][2][3] [4][5] The cave is believed to be the western most extent of Neanderthal Man on the European Continent. Neanderthals became extinct over 40,000 years ago.[6][7][8] The cave was also inhabited by the Homo sapiens, during the Neolithic era.[9][10][11]

Gruta da Furninha
Location in Portugal
Alternative nameDominique's cave
Coordinates39°21′21″N 9°24′4″W


Furninha was explored by Nery Delgado at the end of the 19th century.[12][13] Delgado demonstrated the caves' history of habitation by Neanderthals.[14] Delgado's excavation revealed the existence of animal occupation during the Lower Paleolithic , Neanderthal presence during the Middle Paleolithic, and the presence of Homo sapiens at the end of Chalcolithic.[15][16] Delgado also reports the practice of anthropophagy by the Neanderthals of Furninha who, despite the proximity of the sea, were mainly hunters.[17][18] The collection of remains gathered by Delgado was deposited in a Lisbon museum.[19]

Observation of a number of photographs from Furninha reveals the existence of a thin film of flora. This flora is believed to be in close relation with fungi, and displays intense colors of green, yellow and red zones.[20][21]

The walls of the cave are covered with nutrients generated by the mixing of rain waters dropping through the vent of the vault with droplets of seawater entering the cave. [22]

  • As a record of collective memory, the cave is known as the Cave of Dominique. Dominique was supposedly the name of an elusive robber who took refuge in Furninha.
  • The Furninha cave is associated with the "Legend of a love in Peniche". [23]


  1. "Peniche Fortress". www.cm-peniche.pt.
  2. THE EVOLUTION OF THE COASTLINE AT PENICHE AND THE BERLENGAS ISLANDS (PORTUGAL) - STATE OF THE ART – article by Teresa Azevedo and Elisabete Nunes, Geology Center, Faculty of Sciences, Lisbon
  3. Portugal, TCP/ARPT Centro de. "Peniche, Portugal's geological paradise! • Centro de Portugal".
  4. "Furninha´s cave - Peniche guide". 9 January 2016.
  5. Map, The Megalithic Portal and Megalith. "Gruta da Furninha". The Megalithic Portal.
  6. The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cova Gran (Catalunya, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula – article by Jorge Martıínez-Moreno, Rafael Mora and Ignacio de la Torre at CENTRE D'ESTUDIS DEL PATRIMONI ARQUEOLÒGIC DE LA PREHISTÒRIA, Journal of Human Evolution 58 (2010) 211–226
  7. The Neanderthals: Evolution, Palaeoecology, and Extinction – paper by João Zilhão – print publication date: April 2014; online publication date: October 2013, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199551224.013.054
  8. Neanderthals disappeared from the Iberian Peninsula before than from the rest of Europe – news at Science Daily, February 5, 2015
  9. M. Kunst, in: M. Blech - M. Koch - M. Kunst, Denkmäler der Frühzeit, Hispania Antiqua (2001) 475 f. Ill. 205 a-d Pl. Farbtaf. 12 a. b.
  10. Gruta da Furninha at Megalithic (UK)
  11. Carlos Pimenta, Silvério Figueiredo and Marta Moreno, (pt) Pinguinus impennis (download pt) – read Abstract and see Pinguin and egg (great auk) found in Furninha, destroyed by fire: Pinguin and egg – photograph of a pre-historical emperor penguin found in Furninha by Delgado. This piece was destroyed by a fire in the Bocage Museum (Setúbal)
  12. J. E. Nery Delgado, La grotte de Furninha à Peniche, in: Congrès International d'Anthropologie et d'Archéologie Préhistorique, Compte Rendu de la 9ème Session à Lisbonne 1880 (1884) ; Read full text in French
  13. Nery Delgado biographical note
  14. Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia (download with an appropriate browser) : See reference to Delgado's work in the abstract of the paper on Pinguinus impennis
  15. The Complex Carnivore Rich Assemblages from Furninha (Peniche, Portugal): a Multidisciplinary Approach, Journal of Taphonomy, VOLUME 10 (ISSUE 3-4), 2012
  16. "The Complex Carnivore-rich Assemblages from Furninha (Peniche, Portugal): a Multidisciplinary Approach" (PDF). Journal of Taphonomy.
  17. Hunters of the Golden Age – article by João Zilhão published by the University of Bristol
  18. "João Zilhão - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.
  19. Museu Geológico
  20. Picture of unidentified plant (NOTE: the plant resembles a bunch of leafless gray branches whose roots penetrate into tiny cavities in the rock, as if they were feeding on nutrients concentrated in these small holes)
  21. "What Plants Can Live in Caves?". Caveslime.
  22. The film Arribas highlights the colors of the interior of the cave, the surprising harmony of its natural architecture and enacts aspects of the daily life of Neanderthals in a sequence of about three minutes
  23. (pt) Lenda dos Passos de Dona Leonor (The Legend of Dona Leonor's steps)
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