1839 engis cave, belgium (unnoticed at first because it was hard to distinguish the child"s skull from a human"s) Finding a number of such similar fossils proved that they were members of an ancient population, not diseased moderns. 1890s-1930s very productive years for discoveries of neandertal remains. Adult male, adult female, 3 children, and 1 infant/fetus. One of the skeletons (#4) may have been buried with wild flowers. Currently, we have remains of approximately 500 neandertal individuals. Earliest fossils >500,000 years ago at sima de los huesos, spain. Not quite neandertal, but close, an immediate ancestor. 230,000 years ago in pontnewydd, wales is the oldest neandertal fossil found. For much of their existence, neandertals were living in cold, dry, harsh conditions. Lots of charcoal and ash in the lower layers, however there is not any in the later layers when it was colder climate period.