But for every famous cave complex that yields headline-grabbing artifacts, there are many lesser-known locations with an equally fascinating history. Just one of these is Divje Babe, a karst cavern close to the small town of Cerkno in Slovenia. Sitting some 750 feet above the Idrijca valley, it has been the source of some fascinating discoveries over the years.
Beginning in 1978, Slovenian archaeologist Mitja Brodar started excavations at the cave. Consequently, he stepped down after eight years. Ivan Turk and Janez Dirjec dug the site again, working there from 1989 until 1995. During that time, they penetrated 26 layers of sediment to a depth of almost 40 feet.
One of the most interesting finds recovered from Divje Babe over the years is a bone point, thought to date from the Aurignacian period – a time during the Upper Paleolithic associated with the development of art and refined tools. Because of the marked increase in sophistication evident during this era, some have come to refer to Aurignacians as Europe’s first modern people.