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Gruta da Furninha
Location in Portugal
Location in Portugal
Location in Portugal
Alternative nameDominique's cave
Coordinates39°21′21″N 9°24′4″W / 39.35583°N 9.40111°W / 39.35583; -9.40111Coordinates: 39°21′21″N 9°24′4″W / 39.35583°N 9.40111°W / 39.35583; -9.40111

Furninha, also known as Dominique's cave, is a natural cave on the southern slope of the Peniche peninsula in Portugal. The cave is situated on the cliffs between the Peniche Fortress and the Cape Carvoeiro.[1][2][3] [4][5] The cave is believed to be the western most extent of Neanderthal Man on the European Continent. Neanderthals became extinct over 40,000 years ago.[6][7][8] The cave was also inhabited by the Homo sapiens, during the Neolithic era.[9][10][11]

Maximum range of Homo neanderthalensis.


Furninha was explored by Nery Delgado at the end of the 19th century.[12][13] Delgado demonstrated the caves' history of habitation by Neanderthals.[14] Delgado's excavation revealed the existence of animal occupation during the Lower Paleolithic [15], Neanderthal presence during the Middle Paleolithic, and the presence of Homo sapiens at the end of Chalcolithic.[16][17] Delgado also reports the practice of anthropophagy by the Neanderthals of Furninha who, despite the proximity of the sea, were mainly hunters.[18][19] The collection of remains gathered by Delgado was deposited in a Lisbon museum.[20]

Observation of a number of photographs from Furninha reveals the existence of a thin film of flora. This flora is believed to be in close relation with fungi, and displays intense colors of green, yellow and red zones.[21][22]

The walls of the cave are covered with nutrients generated by the mixing of rain waters dropping through the vent of the vault with droplets of seawater entering the cave. [23]

Presence of Neanderthal traces in Europe.

In popular culture[edit]

  • As a record of collective memory, the cave is known as the Cave of Dominique. Dominique was supposedly the name of an elusive robber who took refuge in Furninha.
  • The Furninha cave is associated with the "Legend of a love in Peniche". [24]


  1. ^ "Peniche Fortress". www.cm-peniche.pt.
  2. ^ THE EVOLUTION OF THE COASTLINE AT PENICHE AND THE BERLENGAS ISLANDS (PORTUGAL) - STATE OF THE ART – article by Teresa Azevedo and Elisabete Nunes, Geology Center, Faculty of Sciences, Lisbon
  3. ^ Portugal, TCP/ARPT Centro de. "Peniche, Portugal's geological paradise! • Centro de Portugal".
  4. ^ "Furninha´s cave - Peniche guide". 9 January 2016.
  5. ^ Map, The Megalithic Portal and Megalith. "Gruta da Furninha". The Megalithic Portal.
  6. ^ The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cova Gran (Catalunya, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula – article by Jorge Martıínez-Moreno, Rafael Mora and Ignacio de la Torre at CENTRE D'ESTUDIS DEL PATRIMONI ARQUEOLÒGIC DE LA PREHISTÒRIA, Journal of Human Evolution 58 (2010) 211–226
  7. ^ The Neanderthals: Evolution, Palaeoecology, and Extinction – paper by João Zilhão – print publication date: April 2014; online publication date: October 2013, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199551224.013.054
  8. ^ Neanderthals disappeared from the Iberian Peninsula before than from the rest of Europe – news at Science Daily, February 5, 2015
  9. ^ M. Kunst, in: M. Blech - M. Koch - M. Kunst, Denkmäler der Frühzeit, Hispania Antiqua (2001) 475 f. Ill. 205 a-d Pl. Farbtaf. 12 a. b.
  10. ^ Gruta da Furninha at Megalithic (UK)
  11. ^ Carlos Pimenta, Silvério Figueiredo and Marta Moreno, (pt) Pinguinus impennis (download pt) – read Abstract and see Pinguin and egg (great auk) found in Furninha, destroyed by fire: Pinguin and egg – photograph of a pre-historical emperor penguin found in Furninha by Delgado. This piece was destroyed by a fire in the Bocage Museum (Setúbal)
  12. ^ J. E. Nery Delgado, La grotte de Furninha à Peniche, in: Congrès International d'Anthropologie et d'Archéologie Préhistorique, Compte Rendu de la 9ème Session à Lisbonne 1880 (1884) ; Read full text in French
  13. ^ Nery Delgado biographical note
  14. ^ Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia (download with an appropriate browser) : See reference to Delgado's work in the abstract of the paper on Pinguinus impennis
  15. ^ Pleistocene Birds of Gruta da Furninha (Peniche-Portugal): A Paleontological and Paleoenvironmental Aproach (sic) – article published at the Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering, A 6 (2017) 502-509 doi:10.17265/2162-5298/2017.10.003
  16. ^ The Complex Carnivore Rich Assemblages from Furninha (Peniche, Portugal): a Multidisciplinary Approach, Journal of Taphonomy, VOLUME 10 (ISSUE 3-4), 2012
  17. ^ "The Complex Carnivore-rich Assemblages from Furninha (Peniche, Portugal): a Multidisciplinary Approach" (PDF). Journal of Taphonomy.
  18. ^ Hunters of the Golden Age – article by João Zilhão published by the University of Bristol
  19. ^ "João Zilhão - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.
  20. ^ Museu Geológico
  21. ^ Picture of unidentified plant (NOTE: the plant resembles a bunch of leafless gray branches whose roots penetrate into tiny cavities in the rock, as if they were feeding on nutrients concentrated in these small holes)
  22. ^ "What Plants Can Live in Caves?". Caveslime.
  23. ^ The film Arribas highlights the colors of the interior of the cave, the surprising harmony of its natural architecture and enacts aspects of the daily life of Neanderthals in a sequence of about three minutes
  24. ^ (pt) Lenda dos Passos de Dona Leonor (The Legend of Dona Leonor's steps)

External links[edit]