The Neanderthals' story has been transformed thanks to new discoveries and paradigm-shattering scientific innovations. We can now trace their evolution in Europe and spread across Asia, study their DNA and piece together how they lived and died.
Far from today's stereotypes, the Neanderthals' behaviour was surprisingly modern: they buried the dead, cared for the sick, hunted large animals, used red pigment and spoke.
If Neanderthals were so advanced, why did they die out and Homo sapiens survive? By looking at the full Neanderthal story, we can better address the biggest mystery of all: what it means to be human.
Dimitra Papagianni has a PhD in archaeology from the University of Cambridge and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of Southampton. She has taught at the Universities of Southampton, Cambridge, Oxford and Bath.
Michael A. Morse has a PhD in the history of science and is the author of How the Celts Came to Britain.
"A beautifully synthesized portrait of a powerful people [...] the first complete chronological narrative of the species from emergence to extinction [...] a gem"
"'If you thought you knew about the Neanderthals, think again. Prepare to have your prejudices shattered and your understanding of humanity challenged"
– Clive Gamble, Professor of Archaeology, University of Southampton
Reviews of the previous edition:
"Fresh, well-informed and highly recommended [...] The inspired pairing of a Palaeolithic expert and a historian of science makes for compelling reading"
– Paul Pettitt, Professor of Archaeology, Durham University
"A nuanced and sympathetic perspective on these fascinating people"
– Brian Fagan, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, University of California, Santa Barbara
"[Written] with confidence and verve [...] strikes an excellent balance between broad popular appeal and satisfyingly rich content"
– Society for American Archaeology
"Has the fresh charm of treating human evolution as a curious story that leads to the Neanderthals, rather than as a moral tale that rises ever upward and inevitably to us godlike moderns"