In a cave south of Rome, archaeologists recently found the remains of nine Neanderthals, an "extraordinary discovery that will be the talk of the world," Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said.
Archaeologists began excavating the Guattari Cave in San Felice Circeo in 2019, 80 years after a Neanderthal skull was found inside. Because of either an earthquake or landslide, the cave was closed off, and the inside is preserved as it was 50,000 years ago, NPR reports. The archaeologists found skulls, skull and bone fragments, and teeth, with the oldest remains from 90,000 to 100,000 years ago; the rest likely date back 50,000 to 68,000 years, the Italian Cultural Ministry said on Saturday.
The ministry described the cave as "one of the most significant places in the world for the history of Neanderthals," and said archaeologists also uncovered the fossilized remains of elephants, hyenas, rhinoceros, and giant deer.