Liang Bua Cave

Useful Information

Location: Flores Island.
(-8.530596, 120.443564)
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=50 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Rex Dalton (2005): Fossil finders in tug of war over analysis of hobbit bones, Nature 434, 5 (3 March 2005)
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1950 disocvered by Theodore Verhoeven.
1950s explored and excavated by the Dutch missionary and archaeologist Theodore Verhoeven.
1965 excavations stopped due to a sudden police intervention.
1970s excavations continued by the Indonesian archaeologist Raden P. Soejono.
2001 deeper excavations started.
2003 bones of Homo floresiensis discovered.
2010/2011 two hominin teeth dated 46,000 BP found in the cave, thought to be Homo sapiens.
2013 3D model of the cave created via laser scanning made available online by the Smithsonian Institution.


On the small Indonesian island of Flores is a cave, which was the place of archaeological excavations for decades. In 2003 an extraordinary find was made, when the bones of a formerly unknown hominid race were found, which lived here until their extinction about 13,000 years BP. The most extraordinary aspect of those humanoids is their size, they were only about one meter high. Soon they were called Indonesian Hobbits, although the scientists dubbed them Homo floresiensis after the island Flores they were found on.

The Homo floresiensis lived for several thousand years on the island. The first discovered bones were of a woman and were dated about 18,000 years old. Nearby findings of other remains tell us that they fed on Stegodons, small elephants which are also extinct today, and on bats, birds and dragons. The Komodo dragons are the still existing on the island Komodo, though they are endangered.

The found skulls are astonishing, as the brain size is the smallest ever found for any humanoid. Still they were not dumb, the archaeologists found stone tools nearby.