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The oldest known modern humans in Europe, the Cro-Magnons possessed robust features that allowed them to live as big-game hunters. Although their oldest known remains date back to some 35,000 years ago, it is said that their origins go back to East Africa, some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
See the fact file below for more information on the Cro-Magnons or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Cro-Magnon worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Cro-Magnons were the oldest known modern humans in Europe.
- Their earliest known remains date back to 35,000 years before the present day.
- The first trace of the Cro-Magnons was found near the commune of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in southwest France. The place is called Abri de Cro-Magnon or “the rock shelter of Cro-Magnon”. In local dialect, it is known as “the big cave”.
- They are often linked to the famous Lascaux cave paintings and the Aurignacian culture that prospered in southern France and Germany.
ASSEMBLAGES AND SPECIMENS
- The first five skeletons of the “European Early Modern Humans (EEMH)”, the term now used in scientific literature, were discovered by French geologist Louis Lartet in March 1868. The Cro-Magnon Oase 1 falls under this classification.
- It is said that the Cro-Magnons’ entry point into Central Europe may have been a site in the Danubian corridor near the Iron Gates in Romania, called the Pestera cu Oase or the Cave with Bones. The human remains found there are some of the few fossils in Europe that can be directly dated.
- The Predmosti is another fossil site situated in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic. Several excavations were conducted there from 1884 to 1930 and in the 1990s. The site dates back 24,000 to 27,000 years. The people who live in the region have essentially similar features to the French Cro-Magnons – robust features and square eye sockets.
- Also in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic is the Mladec.
- Several remains of individuals were found on the site, but there were few artifacts, which is why they were tentatively classified as Aurignacian. The remains are estimated to date back to around 31,000 radiocarbon years.
- The Mladec Caves is one of the oldest Cro-Magnon sites.
- Other sites, assemblages, or specimens found include Brassempouy, La Rochette, Vogelherd, Engis, Hahnofersand, St. Prokop, and Velika Pecina.
- The Cro-Magnons were tall. They are estimated to have been around 166 to 171 cm or 5’5” to 5’7”. They had a more robust physique and slightly larger cranial capacity than modern-day humans.
- However, they had long, fairly low skulls with a wide face, a prominent nose, and moderate to no prognathism, which are features that can be seen in modern Europeans.
- They also had rectangular orbits, which were very distinct to them.
- It is also thought that the Cro-Magnons may have had medium to tan skin.
- They may have had straight hair, although the Venus of Brassempouy may show curly hair or braids.
- The skeletons of the Cro-Magnon 1, the type of specimen found in a rock shelter at Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France and which is carbon dated to about 28,000 years old, showed similarities with those of modern humans. They had the same high forehead, upright posture, and slender (gracile) skeleton.
- However, analysis of the skeletons shows that the Cro-Magnons led a physically difficult life. Aside from infection, some were found to have fused vertebrae in their necks, indicating traumatic injury, while some had skull fractures.
- The Cro-Magnons must have had a strong sense of community and taken care of each other’s injuries well, as these wounds remain life-threatening even today.
- The Cro-Magnons were big-game hunters who killed mammoths, cave bears, horses, and reindeers.
- When the Cro-Magnon 1 was found, it was surrounded by pieces of shell and animal tooth, which may have been used as pendants or necklaces. These indicate that the Cro-Magnon may have been buried intentionally and suggest that they may have had a knowledge of rituals.
- Some flint tools used by the Cro-Magnons are associated with Aurignacian culture, defined by the Aurignacians’ finely worked bone or antler points and flint points used in hafting, cave painting, and production of Venus figurines.
- Some Cro-Magnon artifacts found in Dzudzuana show that they made cords for hafting stone tools, weaving baskets, or sewing garments.
- They built several huts from mammoth bones and constructed shelters out of rocks, clay, branches, and animal hide/fur, which mean they may have been nomadic or semi-nomadic humans who built semi-permanent hunting camps to follow the migration of their prey.
- When painting pictures, the Cro-Magnons used manganese and iron oxides.
- It is said that they may have created the first calendar around 15,000 years ago.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Cro-Magnon across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Cro-Magnon worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Cro-Magnons which possessed robust features that allowed them to live as big-game hunters. Although their oldest known remains date back to some 35,000 years ago, it is said that their origins go back to East Africa, some 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Cro-Magnon Facts
- Meet a Cro-Magnon
- Cro-Magnon Basics
- What’s the Difference?
- Ask a Cro-Magnon
- More Cro-Magnon Facts
- Two Humans
- Early Humans
- Way of Life
- Cave Art
- Cro-Magnon Fossils
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Link will appear as Cro-Magnon Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.