Neanderthals lived at Crvena Stijena until the time of the Campanian-Ignimbrite eruption 40,000 years ago. The only Neanderthal fossil that has been found at the site is one tooth; however, human DNA extracted from many Middle Paleolithic layers at the site has been identified as belonging to Neanderthals.
Modern humans lived at the site after the deposition of the 40,000-year-old volcanic ash layer. The Upper Paleolithic sequence is not complete, but we have definite evidence that people from the Gravettian and Epi-Gravettian lived here. They were followed by Mesolithic hunters/fishers/gatherers, and by early agriculturalists during the Neolithic. Finally, we have evidence that people lived at the shelter during the Bronze Age.
Occasionally the site was also visited and inhabited by carnivores and, in recent times, goats and sheep. However, these animals fortunately did not damage the site. In particular, carnivore gnawing of bones is quite rare, as are carnivore bones themselves, in comparison with many other Paleolithic sites. This suggests that the site was consistently occupied by humans. If you visit the site on a cold winter’s day you will soon see why: it is warm and sheltered from harsh northern winds!
This Neanderthal skull was found at La Chapelle aux Saints in France. No Neanderthal bones have been found at Crvena Stijena, except for one tooth.1
During the Middle Paleolithic, Neanderthals lived at Crvena Stijena. This reconstruction of a Neanderthal is based on fossils found at Shanidar Cave, Iraq.2
Geneticists from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, have collected samples of sediment from the site. In the sediment, they have found traces of Neanderthal DNA.
1= Figure credit: Luna04, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons2= Figure credit: Artist: John Gurche Photographer: Chip Clark, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons3= Figure credit: No machine-readable author provided. 120 assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons