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Volume 581 Issue 7808, 21 May 2020

Ancient jewellery

The cover shows jewellery that dates to between 46,000 and 43,000 years ago. Made from cave bear teeth, these pendants were unearthed during excavations at Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. In this week’s issue, Jean-Jacques Hublin and his colleagues discuss the artefacts and the human bone fragments that they uncovered in the cave. The finds, which include a human tooth, represent the earliest modern human remains to be found in Europe and, through the jewellery design, provide further evidence of cultural interactions between Homo sapiens spreading west through the continent and local Neanderthals. The authors’ DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating of the human remains suggest that modern humans arrived in the mid-latitudes of Europe before 45,000 years ago.

Cover image: Rosen Spasov and Geoff M. Smith

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