Earliest evidence of burial flowers; a Neanderthal grave.

In the 1950s in a cave in northern Iraq a neanderthal burial site was found. The caves are situated on the shores of the Greater Zab River, a tributary of the Tigris in the Zagros Mountains.The burial site contained 8 skeletons of the Middle Palaeolithic period and after carefully sifting through the soil samples around and underneath the bodies 28 species of pollen were discovered.Of these 28 only 7 appeared in clusters within the soil and these 7 species accounted for the majority of the pollen recovered. The clusters were discovered to be evidence of whole flowers heads, in fact a bed of flowers onto which the bodies were laid, mainly around the heads of the bodies.

The species recovered were Muscari(grape hyacinth), Achillea (yarrow), Senecio (groundsels), Cornflower, Centaurea (st barnaby’s thistle), Ephedra(woody horsetail) and 1 unidentified species.This means that the burial must have taken place between May and July over 50,000 years ago.

Here is what this combination would have looked like.