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Ralph Stefan Solecki [b. 1917]


Definition: American archaeologist Ralph Solecki has had a long and varied career, including work in the United States, the Middle East, and the Zagreb Mountains of eastern Europe. He is most frequently associated with the excavations at the Neanderthal site of Shanidar Cave, conducted in the 1950s.

At Shanidar, Solecki found some flower pollen associated with a Neanderthal burial, adding to the "were Neanderthals human-like" debates. Solecki's classic text on Shanidar, called The First Flower People, was said by Jean Auel to have been used for background when she was writing her Clan of the Cave Bear series. Solecki is professor emeritus at Columbia University and still active in archaeology.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology. Sources for the term include the references listed on the front page of the Dictionary, and the websites listed in the sidebar.

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