Gold Neanderthal Skull – 2015 to 2018

Human skulls have often been used in art to illustrate impermanence, the vanity of earthly pursuits and the transient nature of life. The Memento Mori, from the Latin meaning ‘remember death,’ has been found in many traditions of art, represented by a human skull.

Evidence would suggest that Neanderthals were not a primitive sub-species, but a highly evolved group with the capacity for self awareness and abstract thought. It would seem possible that Neanderthals were the first hominids to create symbolic works of art and to engage in ritualistic rites of passage. Yet the question of whether the Neanderthal was a separate species would remain. While Neanderthals were classified as either a a species or subspecies of Homo sapiens DNA mapping would illustrate that the Neanderthal could not be identified as a distinct, separate species.

Neanderthals were thought to be widespread across Europe and Western Asia from around 400,000 years ago. By 45,000 years ago populations of early Homo sapiens had migrated into Europe, the Near East, South and West Asia. Five thousand years later the Neanderthals were considered to be extinct. While evidence would increasingly contradict the idea of Neanderthals as a species in their own right, such narratives would support a hierarchical view of an anthropocentric universe.


Title: Gold Neanderthal Skull
Year produced: 2015 – 2018
Dimensions: Lifesize
Mediums used: 24 Carat Gold, Bronze