Sapienza University takes part in the study of Neanderthal fossil remains in the Guattari Cave at Circeo, Italy
Sapienza is participating in a campaign to investigate new fossil finds, including at least 25 Neanderthal remains, recently found in the Guattari Cave on Monte Circeo, Lazio, central Italy.
The results of the ongoing archaeological excavations that began in 2019 come from the close collaboration of several universities and research institutes, including the Soprintendenza archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio for the provinces of Frosinone and Latina, the universities of Pisa and Rome Tor Vergata, the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), with the municipal administration of San Felice Circeo.
As part of the framework agreement for scientific collaboration with the Sovrintendenza archeologica, belle arti e paesaggio for the provinces of Frosinone and Latina, Sapienza researchers will focus mainly on the interdisciplinary study of human fossils and paleobotanical documentation, involving excellent skills and cutting-edge technology, also in collaboration with the University of Bologna and the Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Max Planck) in Leipzig.
Sapienza has been a leading player in palaeoanthropological research at Monte Circeo and the surrounding area (Agro Pontino) since the second half of the 1930s. In February 1939, the discovery of the famous Neanderthal skull (later named Guattari 1) made Monte Circeo and its coastal caves known to both the international scientific community and the general public as a repository of a formidable cultural heritage, so much so that it reached the furthest depths of the Palaeolithic and continue through time to the present day.
Scientific interest among Sapienza researchers in the Circeo area has never waned: starting from the fundamental activities of figures such as Alberto Carlo Blanc, Sergio Sergi and Antonio Ascenzi, in the first half of the 20th century, to the excavations, research and valorisation carried out in recent decades - often in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Human Palaeontology and the Archaeological Superintendence of the Pontine territory - such as the excavations in Grotta Breuil directed by Amilcare Bietti and the international conference in Sabaudia in 1989 or the 2006 events coordinated by Giorgio Manzi within the project "Our brother Neanderthal ... when we were not alone".