THE VILLAGE of Gánovce at the foot of the High Tatras has been famous for its hot springs for thousands of years. At the top of this 1929 postcard its publisher even describes Gánovce as a spa town. But what really made it famous was a unique discovery. There was once a gentle hill in Gánovce called Hrádok. This was in fact a travertine deposit and in the 18th century Hrádok became a working quarry. In 1924, the boss of the explosives crew at the quarry, Koloman Koki, found the remains of a Neanderthal man there.
In the following decades, the discovery was forgotten as scientists doubted its age and even its origin.
The uniqueness of the discovery was only confirmed in the 1950s. In the 1960s the Slovak Archaeological Institute in Gánovce organised an international inquiry; archaeologists have since found many other prehistoric artefacts there.
6. Dec 2010 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan