Tuna Wars pp 11-23 | Cite as

The Cave

  • Steven Adolf


Civilisation begins with fish; fish in the Mediterranean. Its arrival was eagerly anticipated in the caves of the steep rock faces. The giant tuna, after all, always returned to the Mediterranean on its regular route past their beaches, so it was a question of waiting patiently in the right place. They must have been taught this from an early age, just as they were taught how to make fire and how to sharpen the edge of a stone to make a hand axe. Much about the Neanderthals remains a mystery, but we know that they were partial to bluefin tuna. They knew how to cut large fillets from the spine and roast it over the fire, perhaps with a sprig of rosemary as a first step in culinary evolution. Tuna, in any case, was a welcome change from the menu of shellfish, wild boar or ibex, the local mountain goat. As the days grew warmer, it was time to go in search of the big fish (Fig. 2.1).


  1. 51.
    Braudel F (2007) The Mediterranean in the ancient world. Penguin Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. 230.
    Stringer CB, Finlayson JC, Barton RNE et al (2008) Neanderthal exploitation of marine mammals in Gibraltar. Proc Natl Acad Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 208.
    Rodríguez-Vidal J, d’Errico F, Pacheco F et al (2014) A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:13301–13306. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 133.
    Henshilwood C, d’Errico F, van Niekerk K et al (2018) An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Nature 562:115–118. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 241.
    (2018) The oldest fish hooks and evidence of paleolithic offshore fishing (Circa 21,000 BCE–16,000 BCE): In: Historyofinformation.comGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Adolf
    • 1
  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations