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Neanderthal Flintworkers / LL "Chas. R. Knight"

Identifier: Art Survey No. 1148

General Note

Mural of Neanderthal family outside cave overlooking river valley, one man carrying spear, two men working with flint; whole party alerted to small herd of wooly rhinoceros crossing the river below.

On view in AMNH stair hall, Section 2A, between Floor 2 and Floor 3.


  • 1924



1 Object : 1 mural : oil on canvas ; 173 x 381 cm

Language of Materials



Condition: Poor (4). Condition History: Rolled up in 1966, restored in 2008.

Related Materials

Negative #39441A; 4"x5" slide #618; 35mm slide #618.

Publications About Described Materials

Czerkas, S.M. and Glut, D.F. 1982. Dinosaurs, mammoths, and cavemen: the art of Charles Knight. New York: Dutton. p. 66.

General Note

Le Moustier Cavern, Dordogne, France.

Local Note



AMNH label copy: Charles R. Knight, The Flint Workers of the River Vézère, Oil on canvas, 1924 [sic]. This painting of a Neanderthal family is one of nine large murals produced by the American artist Charles R. Knight (1874-1953) for the Hall of the Age of Man, which opened at the American Museum of Natural History in the early 1920s. Knight creates a scene at Le Moustier cave, in France, about 40,000 years ago. In 1909, Homo neanderthalensis bones were found at the cave along with stone artifacts, which Knight shows here as they might have been used. The young man at right gathers flint, at center, brandishes a flaked spearpoint as he eyes a woolly rhinoceros in the river below. In the years when Knight, under the guidance of Museum director and paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, was preparing this painting, little was known about the daily habits of our extinct relatives. Neanderthals, who lived in Europe between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago, were generally viewed as primitive brutes. Today, however, scientists think that although Neanderthals did not create art or possess language as we know it, they did live in complex social groups, control fire and bury their dead in simple rituals.

Iris Lee
Language of description
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Language of description note
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017).
Edition statement
Updated from the Art Survey inventory description, 1991-1992.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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New York NY 10024 USA
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