What Type of Clothes Did Neanderthals Wear?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

Looking at pictures from years ago, you can tell that the types of clothes we wore in the past differ from our current clothing tastes. Simply put, clothing is one of many things that have evolved with humans.

From the time of the Neanderthals to our time, the choice of clothing has certainly changed immensely. Knowing this, you might be wondering what type of clothes Neanderthals wore. Well, find out below.

What types of clothes did Neanderthals wear?

Some of the narratives about the clothes Neanderthals wore are somewhat conflicting. While some experts believe Neanderthals did not worry about clothes, others say Neanderthal clothes were similar to those of early modern humans. Then there’s the third school of thought that posits Neanderthals wore cape-like clothing.

four hunter neanderthals clothing animal skin

In this article, we go over recent pieces of evidence as we answer the question, “What type of clothes did Neanderthals wear?” Read on for some interesting facts.

What Type of Clothes Did Neanderthals Wear?

Some say Neanderthals did not bother about clothing themselves. However, the discovery of bones from skinned animals in Neanderthal sites leaves questions about this stance.

Since the suggestion that Neanderthals did not wear clothes seems less likely, we can consider the other two options.

Either Neanderthals wore cape-like furs or clothes similar to those of early modern humans.

Now, let’s see which of these seems more probable.

little boy wearing animal skin as clothing ancient prehistoric warrior

The analysis of animal remnants in early hominid sites suggests that Neanderthals and early modern humans wore some form of clothing.

Plus, the distribution of the species of animals in these sites offers possible insights into the types of clothes each hominid species wore.

In both Neanderthal and early modern human sites, researchers discovered remains of animals like deer, bison, bears, weasels, dogs, wolverines, and rabbits. However, the early modern human sites had more remnants from smaller animals (weasels, rabbits, dogs, and wolverines).

Since the early modern human sites had a significant distribution of smaller and larger animals, researchers inferred that they wore fur-trimmed clothing.

Experts believe that early modern humans collected fur from several animals (small and large). This gave them a mix of short and long furs to work with and create complex clothes.

Unlike early modern human sites, Neanderthal sites primarily had remnants of larger animal species.

So, researchers reckon that their clothing was not as complex as early modern humans’ clothing. One common suggestion is that Neanderthals wore capes of untrimmed fur.

Overall, the layer of evidence that explains what Neanderthals wore is currently thin. So, at the moment, what we have are conjectures for the most part.

What Was the First Human Species to Wear Clothes?

caveman wearing animal skin holding two stones

We don’t have concrete evidence yet. However, researchers found stone tools associated with Homo antecessor in Gran Dolina – a Spanish archeological site. The stone tools are possibly clothing tools, so Homo antecessor may have been the first human species to wear clothes.

Similarly, researchers found stone tools in Schoningen – a German archeological site associated with Homo heidelbergensis. But these tools were from around 400,000 years ago, while those in the Homo antecessor sites were from about 800,000 years ago.

According to genetic skin-coloration studies, the human species became less hairy around 1 million years ago. This correlates with the time through which Homo antecessor existed.

So, there’s a good chance that Homo antecessor were the first human species to wear clothes.

So far, the most apparent pieces of evidence of clothing in early human species suggest that Neanderthals may be the first human species to wear clothes.

When Did Modern Humans Start Wearing Clothes?

cave ancient man wearing animal skin

According to data collected on clothing lice, modern humans started wearing clothes around 70,000 years before migrating to colder regions and higher latitudes.

The migration to colder regions and higher latitudes happened around 100,000 years ago. So, modern humans started wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago.

What Is the Oldest Cloth in the World?

The Tarkhan dress is the oldest cloth in the world on record. This over 5,000-year-old piece of linen clothing is of Egyptian origin.

The Tarkhan dress is an exciting piece because it’s stayed intact for so long.

Typically, clothing made from animal or plant fiber never escapes disintegration. Most textiles excavated from archeological sites are no more than 2,000 years old.

While the Tarkhan dress is the oldest cloth in the world, the oldest pair of pants was found in a Chinese tomb. The said pair of pants date around 3,000 years back.

Did Neanderthals Have Shoes?

Neanderthals possibly wore some sort of footwear to protect their feet from the cold. However, it is unlikely that they wore hard-soled shoes like we do today.

Chances are Neanderthals covered their feet in footwear made of fur.

four tribe wearing neanderthals clothing and shoes while hunting

Final Thoughts

While the evidence is not concrete, Neanderthals most likely wore cape-like fur garments. They may have also worn fur footwear to keep their feet warm in the cold.

But although they may have had some sort of clothing during their time, Neanderthals may not have been the first human species to wear clothes.


Similar Posts