Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 33
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    French, Jennifer C. 2016. Demography and the Palaeolithic Archaeological Record. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 150.

    Radovčić, Davorka Japundžić, Dražen Sršen, Ankica Oros Radovčić, Jakov and Frayer, David W. 2016. An interesting rock from Krapina. Comptes Rendus Palevol,

    Roberts, Patrick 2016. ‘We have never been behaviourally modern’: The implications of Material Engagement Theory and Metaplasticity for understanding the Late Pleistocene record of human behaviour. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 8.

    Cârciumaru, Marin Niţu, Elena-Cristina and Cîrstina, Ovidiu 2015. A geode painted with ochre by the Neanderthal man. Comptes Rendus Palevol, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Guérin, Guillaume Frouin, Marine Talamo, Sahra Aldeias, Vera Bruxelles, Laurent Chiotti, Laurent Dibble, Harold L. Goldberg, Paul Hublin, Jean-Jacques Jain, Mayank Lahaye, Christelle Madelaine, Stéphane Maureille, Bruno McPherron, Shannon J.P. Mercier, Norbert Murray, Andrew S. Sandgathe, Dennis Steele, Teresa E. Thomsen, Kristina J. and Turq, Alain 2015. A multi-method luminescence dating of the Palaeolithic sequence of La Ferrassie based on new excavations adjacent to the La Ferrassie 1 and 2 skeletons. Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 58, p. 147.

    Hussain, Shumon T. and Floss, Harald 2015. Streams as Entanglement of Nature and Culture: European Upper Paleolithic River Systems and Their Role as Features of Spatial Organization. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory,

    Johansson, Sverker 2015. Language Abilities in Neanderthals. Annual Review of Linguistics, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 311.

    Ruebens, Karen and Wragg Sykes, Rebecca M. 2015. Spatio-temporal variation in late Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal behaviour: British bout coupé handaxes as a case study. Quaternary International,

    Burdukiewicz, Jan Michał 2014. The origin of symbolic behavior of Middle Palaeolithic humans: Recent controversies. Quaternary International, Vol. 326-327, p. 398.

    Johansson, Sverker 2014. The thinking Neanderthals: What do we know about Neanderthal cognition?. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, Vol. 5, Issue. 6, p. 613.

    Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín d’Errico, Francesco Pacheco, Francisco Giles Blasco, Ruth Rosell, Jordi Jennings, Richard P. Queffelec, Alain Finlayson, Geraldine Fa, Darren A. Gutiérrez López, José María Carrión, José S. Negro, Juan José Finlayson, Stewart Cáceres, Luís M. Bernal, Marco A. Fernández Jiménez, Santiago and Finlayson, Clive 2014. A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, Issue. 37, p. 13301.

    2014. Thin on the Ground.

    d’Errico, Francesco and Banks, William E. 2013. Identifying Mechanisms behind Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age Cultural Trajectories. Current Anthropology, Vol. 54, Issue. S8, p. S371.

    Eren, Metin I. Diez-Martin, Fernando and Dominguez-Rodrigo, Manuel 2013. An empirical test of the relative frequency of bipolar reduction in Beds VI, V, and III at Mumba Rockshelter, Tanzania: implications for the East African Middle to Late Stone Age transition. Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 40, Issue. 1, p. 248.

    Hardy, Bruce L. Moncel, Marie-Hélène Daujeard, Camille Fernandes, Paul Béarez, Philippe Desclaux, Emmanuel Chacon Navarro, Maria Gema Puaud, Simon and Gallotti, Rosalia 2013. Impossible Neanderthals? Making string, throwing projectiles and catching small game during Marine Isotope Stage 4 (Abri du Maras, France). Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 82, p. 23.

    Langley, Michelle C. 2013. Storied landscapes makes us (Modern) Human: Landscape socialisation in the Palaeolithic and consequences for the archaeological record. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Vol. 32, Issue. 4, p. 614.

    Lind, J. Lindenfors, P. Ghirlanda, S. Lidén, K. and Enquist, M. 2013. Dating human cultural capacity using phylogenetic principles. Scientific Reports, Vol. 3,

    Ruebens, Karen 2013. Regional behaviour among late Neanderthal groups in Western Europe: A comparative assessment of late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tool variability. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 65, Issue. 4, p. 341.

    Benítez-Burraco, Antonio 2012. ¿Es el lenguaje (complejo) el resultado de una transferencia genética entre neandertales y humanos modernos?. Trabajos de Prehistoria, Vol. 69, Issue. 2, p. 212.

    Burke, Ariane 2012. Spatial abilities, cognition and the pattern of Neanderthal and modern human dispersals. Quaternary International, Vol. 247, p. 230.


Behavioural Complexity in Eurasian Neanderthal Populations: a Chronological Examination of the Archaeological Evidence

  • Michelle C. Langley (a1), Christopher Clarkson (a2) and Sean Ulm (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2008

Whether Neanderthals were capable of behaviours commonly held to be the exclusive preserve of modern humans — such as abstract thought, language, forward planning, art, reverence of the dead, complex technology, etc. — has remained a fundamental question in human evolutionary studies since their discovery more than a hundred years ago. A lack of quantitative data on Neanderthal symbolism and complex behaviour is a key obstacle to the resolution of this question, with temporal analyses usually confined to single regions or short time periods. Here we present an approach to the issue of symbolism and complex behaviours among Neanderthals that examines the frequency of key proxies for symbolic and complex behaviours through time, including burials, modified raw materials, use of pigments, use of composite technology and body modification. Our analysis demonstrates that the number and diversity of complex Neanderthal behaviours increases between 160,000 and 40,000 years ago. Whether this pattern derives from preservation factors, the evolution of cognitive and behavioural complexity, cumulative learning, or population size is discussed. We take the view that it is not the apparent sophistication of a single specific item, nor the presence or absence of particular types in the archaeological record that is important. Instead, we believe that it is the overall abundance of artefacts and features indicative of complex behaviours within the Neanderthal archaeological record as a whole that should provide the mark of Neanderthal capabilities and cultural evolutionary potential.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *