The Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints, 1911

  1. 34. Boule, Marcelin (1861-1942). 
    “L’Homme fossile de La Chapelle-aux-Saints,” Annales de Paleontologie, 1911, 6:111-172.

In 1908, a human skeleton of prehistoric age was discovered by two Catholic priests in a cave at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in France. The skeleton was turned over to Marcellin Boule, director of the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris. Boule determined that the "Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints", as he would be called, was a Neanderthal, that he had lived to be about 40, and died from a blow to the head. ¬†Moreover, he was a toolmaker, fashioning stone implements like those already found in the cave of Le Moustier, and called "Mousterian." Several other Neanderthal skulls had been discovered since the first Neanderthal was unearthed in 1856, but this was the first find with a complete skeleton and a full tool kit, and it dramatically confirmed that Neanderthal was a valid hominid type, and not a collection of pathologically deformed modern humans, as others had suggested.¬† The plate shows three views of the “Old Man.”