May 4, 1980: The Clan Of The Cave Bear is published

Jean M Auel takes readers back to the dawn of mankind and sweeps them up into the amazing and wonderful world of Ayla, one of the most remarkable heroines ever imagined.

Over 30,000 years ago, in a world we know but would not recognize, a young girl of five plays by herself on a creek bank. Suddenly, her world shifts, as a cataclysmic earthquake leaves her an orphan in a harsh Ice Age landscape.

A way away, a group of people now called Neanderthals also finds their world changed, as the quake destroys the cave they’ve called home. They must journey to find a new place to live. [www.jeanauel.com]

The_Clan_Of_The_Cave_Bear-1st_EdThe Clan of the Cave Bear is an epic historical novel about prehistoric times. It is the first book in the Earth’s Children book series which speculates on the possibilities of interactions between Neanderthal and modern Cro-Magnon humans.

The novel references the advance of the polar ice sheets, setting the story before 18,000 years Before Present (BP), when the farthest southern encroachment of the last glacial period of the current ice age occurred. Auel’s time-frame, somewhere between 28,000 and 25,000 years BP, corresponds generally with archaeological estimates of the Neanderthal branch of humankind disappearing.

The archaeological and paleontological research for this book was carried out by Auel from her public library, by attending archaeological conventions, and touring extensively on sites with briefings by working field archaeologists. Some of the descriptions are based on the first adult Neanderthal skeletons found in Iraq from the cave burial at Shanidar, dating between 60-80,000 years BP. Other data is clearly linked to the widespread Aurignacian culture and Gravettian culture, and their tell-tale Venus figurines which Auel uses as one center of her Cro-Magnon religious practices.

In 1986, the novel was adapted into a film directed by Michael Chapman and starring Daryl Hannah. [Wikipedia]

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