Discovered in 1971 in the heart of a small valley joining the Meuse, the Scladina caves have been excavated since 1978. In fact, the almost 7 metres of sediment that fill the caves provide an outstanding archaeological and scientific opportunity, making it possible to retrace the history of the climate over 100,000 years, as well as the prehistoric fauna through the several hundred thousand bones discovered here. The presence of man has also come to light, ranging from the Neanderthal to the Neolithic, thanks to the archaeological material found, but also from the discovery of clearly identifiable bones. The sediment contains tools made in the middle Palaeolithic age (from approximately 300,000 to 35,000 years BC, the period of Neanderthal Man) or upper and final Palaeolithic age (from approximately 35,000 to approximately 8,500 years BC, the beginning of which period marks the arrival of modern man in our region). The most recent occupation at the site takes the form of a collective burial ground from the Neolithic period. However, the major discovery at the site – of international significance – dates from 1993, or almost a century after the last Neanderthal bones discovered. This discovery consists of twenty or so dispersed bone fragments from a child's jaw. The good state of preservation of the bony remains of this child no older than ten, who lived 100,000 years ago has enabled scientists to determine the child's diet through laboratory analyses. As a result, the study made possible by the long stratigraphic succession preserved at Scladina enables us to understand how people lived and behaved (transport of raw materials, specialisation of the tooling they used, hunting, etc.) in the heart of their environment.
Exceptional heritage site of Wallonia