Kleine Feldhofer Grotte

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Ruins of the Feldhof lime kiln in October 2007

Kleine Feldhofer Grotte was a cave, a paleoanthropologic site in the Neandertal Valley in northern Germany. In August 1856, a Neanderthal specimen was unearthed from the cave. Miners uncovered a skull cap and later a set of skeletal bones to be labeled Neanderthal. The bones come from at least three distinct individuals.

The cave was in a limestone gorge and had interior dimensions of 3 m in width by 5 m in length by 3 m in height with a 1 m opening 20 m above the valley floor in the south wall which was 50 m high. The cave gets its name from the nearby large farm of Feldhof.[1][2][3]

The cave was destroyed by quarrying which widened the gorge. The location of the cave was forgotten and by 1900, unknown.

In 1997 a successful search for the site of the cave and its deposits yielded 24 fragments of human bone, one of which, identified as NN 13, fit exactly onto the left lateral femoral condyle of Neanderthal 1. The 2000 search recovered thousands of artefacts. The mitochondrial DNA of two samples were fully sequenced, and completed in 2009.


  1. ^ Schmitz, R W.; Thissen, J. Neandertal: Die Geschichte geht weiter. Heidelberg: Spektrum; 2000.
  2. ^ Fuhlrott, J. C. (1868) Verh. naturhist. Ver. preuss. Rheinl. 25, Corr. Bl., 62–70.
  3. ^ Schmitz RW, Serre D, Bonani G, et al. (October 2002). "The Neandertal type site revisited: interdisciplinary investigations of skeletal remains from the Neander Valley, Germany". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99 (20): 13342–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.192464099. PMC 130635. PMID 12232049. 

Coordinates: 51°13′39″N 06°56′44″E / 51.22750°N 6.94556°E / 51.22750; 6.94556