Le Moustier

Le Moustier is an archeological site consisting of two rock shelters in Peyzac-le-Moustier, a village in the Dordogne, France. It is known for a fossilized skull of the species Homo neanderthalensis that was discovered in 1908. The Mousterian tool culture is named after Le Moustier, which was first excavated from 1863 by the Englishman Henry Christy and the Frenchman Édouard Lartet.

Le Moustier
Le Moustier
Le Moustier 1 in 1909, before WWII bombing.
Location in France
Le Moustier (Aquitaine)
RegionDordogne, France
Coordinates44°59′38″N 1°3′36″E
Site notes
Excavation dates1863
ArchaeologistsHenry Christy, Édouard Lartet.
Part ofPrehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley
CriteriaCultural: (i), (iii)
Inscription1979 (3rd Session)
Area0.227 ha (24,400 sq ft)

The Le Moustier skull is estimated to be approximately 45,000 years old.[1] Its characteristics include a large nasal cavity and a somewhat less developed brow ridge and occipital bun, as might be expected in a juvenile.

After discovery, the skull was dismantled, cast and reconstructed at least four times. During this process, the skull received considerable amounts of damage; for example, after it was sold to the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, a dentist broke the alveolar bone to access the teeth. It was later damaged in the Allied bombing of Berlin during the Second World War, then looted by the USSR, which returned the remains of the skull to the German Democratic Republic in 1958.[2] The skull is now missing many parts, the teeth glued into the wrong position, and it has been dipped into glue, covered with varnish, and painted with plaster. Consequently, its scientific value is much reduced.[3]

See also


  1. Australian Museum [Retrieved 2012-01-06]
  2. Claudio, Tuniz; Manuela, Montagnari Kokelj; Marco, Budinich (2010). Science For Cultural Heritage: Technological Innovation And Case Studies In Marine And Land Archaeology In The Adriatic Region And Inland. World Scientific. p. 274. ISBN 9789814464925.
  3. Weber, Gerhard (2011). Virtual anthropology : a guide to a new interdisciplinary field. Wien London: Springer. ISBN 978-3-211-48647-4.
  4. Bekker, Henk (23 October 2017). "Neues Museum in Berlin 1175".
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