National Geographic : 1996 Jan
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC OnAssignment 0 PUFFINS Home Is Where the Hut Is . "THE WEATHER THERE was so foul!" says FRANS LANTING of the remote Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda, home of Britain's largest puffin colony. "Even though my assistant and I had tents, we finally had to retreat to these stone-and-sod huts for pro tection from all the wind and driving rain." The centuries-old structures, called cleits, were once used by local people to dry and store seabirds killed in summer for winter food supplies. But the last of St. Kilda's resi dents moved away from the archipelago in 1930. Now the cleits only dry and store ... photographers. FRANS LANTING NEANDERTALS Please Don't Call Him a Caveman "AFTER FINISHING the fieldwork for this story, I never wanted to see a cave again," says author RICK GORE, at left, with archae ologist Jean-Michel Geneste out side an excavation of rock dwellings used by Neandertals and their successors in France's Dordogne River Valley. "I found myself in cold caves, muddy caves, sloppy caves, wet caves. I never realized how dif ferent caves could be. I climbed, I fell, I slithered on my stomach through them. And that's not easy to do with a notebook in your hand." As he traveled their paths, Rick gained respect for the enig matic Neandertals. "Climbing up frightening cliffs and slopes to reach some of the caves, then crawling through them, I was amazed at what these people must have gone through to live there. And I am equally amazed at what the scientists who study them go through to work there today." Rick has been science editor of the GEOGRAPHIC since 1992. KENNETHGARRETT NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN0027-9358) ISPUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,1145 17THST.N.W.,WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036-4688. $25.00 AYEAR,$3.00 ACOPY. SECOND-CLASS POSTAGEPAIDATWASHINGTON, D. C.,ANDELSEWHERE. POSTMASTER: SENDADDRESSCHANGESTONATIONALGEOGRAPHIC, P.O .BOX2174, WASHINGTON, D. C.20013.