Ludovic Slimak

Neanderthal Uncovered Publication date : January 5, 2022

Ludovic Slimak is an archeologist (CNRS [French Centre national de la recherche scientifique - French National Centre for Scientific Research], Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail), member of the SMP3C team – Sociétés et milieux des populations de chasseurs-cueilleurs-collecteurs [Societies and Milieux of Populations of Hunters-Gatherers-Collectors]. His work focuses on the final Neanderthal societies. He leads digs at the Grotto Mandrin in Malataverne in the Drôme department in France.

This book is about Neanderthal Man, but it has a wider scope because it is actually about humans. Since the initial discovery in 1856 in the Neander Valley near Düsseldorf, then the acknowledgement of the existence of humans of a species different from our own, astonishment gave way to a desire to learn more.

The essence of this book is an enthralling investigation that takes the reader along the tracks of Neanderthal, deep inside the earth and through time, alongside the researcher who shares his expeditions into vast polar regions, but also his rich explorations of museum collections, his questions, his doubts, his hypotheses, and his passion for knowing more.

We encounter cold, the accelerated melting of the Siberian permafrost, mammoths, cannibalism, symbols and art, technology, geography and migrations, everything that enables the author to reconstruct a hint of the Neanderthal universe. There is neither misleading proximity nor absolute strangeness. Neanderthal was not the roughhewn prehistoric brute that we thought we saw behind his thick brow bone and his ostensibly simian skull. And yet, is he a human brother? If so, it was a perhaps a deadly fraternal relationship, because it is possible that Sapiens wasn’t blameless in the disappearance of Neanderthal…