Gorham’s Cave, located in Gibraltar, is a remarkable archaeological site that provides invaluable insights into the prehistoric human presence in the region. Situated on the eastern face of the Rock of Gibraltar, this limestone cave has been a subject of extensive research and excavation, revealing evidence of Neanderthal presence.
Gibraltar’s Gorham’s Cave was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, with it’s 330 feet (100m) in length and 115 feet (35m) rich in archeological value holding secrets and proof of early human life and how they evolved over the years adapting to the fast changing environments around them.
Archeologists have found evidence of the cave being used as hunting ground and shelter for the early neanderthal human. Fossils, pottery, stone tools and various artefacts have been found making it one of the most important Neanderthal sites in Europe. Excavations have unearthed a burial site beneath layers of sediment containing fish, bird mammal bones and carved animals bones and flint weapons. The discovery of these remains has shed light on the Neanderthal way of life, their hunting practices, and their interactions with the environment.
Out of this burial site discovery, the skull of the human remains was found to be damaged but it was still included in Gibraltar’s National Museum collection. After some years of its discovery, in 2019, DNA tests were finally done revealing that the skull belonged to a woman who had lived 7500 years before. This discovery made it the oldest remains of a modern female woman found in Gibraltar, these tests also uncovered that the woman’s genetic ancestry was from far east of the Iberian Peninsula, unravelling new discoveries about how ancient humans migrated during the spread of agriculture in Europe.
The significance of Gorham’s Cave extends beyond academic research and attracts visitors from around the world who are eager to explore this captivating archaeological site. Guided tours provide visitors with an opportunity to witness firsthand the wonders of the cave and learn about the discoveries made by archaeologists. The site serves as a valuable educational resource, allowing the public to engage with the fascinating story of human evolution and cultural development.
A visit to Gorham’s Cave is only available with GTA Open Tour of Gibraltar, or with a private or customised GTA tour, although it is subject to a pre booking as entrance to this cave is only permissible accompanied by the Gibraltar National Museum Tour guides. Accessibility is not adequate for people with physical limitations or reduced mobility, as the access is via a steep staircase that leads down to the seashore to the entrance of Gorham’s Cave.
Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar is a captivating archaeological Gibraltar Attraction that holds immense scientific, historical, and cultural significance. Its association with Neanderthals and the evidence it has uncovered about their way of life has reshaped our understanding of these ancient humans. Gorham’s Cave stands as a testament to the rich and diverse human history that unfolded in this region, and its preservation and ongoing research continue to contribute to our knowledge of our ancient ancestors.