The Clan of the Cave Bear is a historical fiction novel by Jean M Auel. The 495 page novel chronicles the early years of Ayla, a pre-modern human girl orphaned by an earthquake and raised by a group of neanderthals.The Clan of the Cave Bear is the first of a six book series that follows Ayla across continental Europe and into adulthood.


  • Ayla - the heroine/ the protagonist
  • Iza - Ayla's adopted mother
  • Brun - Iza's older brother and leader of the cave
  • Creb - Iza and Brun's older brother and the cave's Mog-ur, or holy man
  • Broud - Brun's son, future leader, and antagonist
  • Ebra - Brun's mate
  • Grod - Brun's second-in-command
  • Goov - Creb's acolyte

Flora and fauna of rre-historic Europe 35,000 - 25,000 BC

Ayla's birth clan/people remain a mystery for the entirety of the six book series, but her geographical origins are on the peninsular region of the Black Sea, modern day Ukraine. The book goes into great detail on the appearance and uses of the surrounding plants.

Medicinal Plants and Uses


  • found on marshy banks of rivers and lakes
  • wash roots, chew to a pulp, and spit mash into boiling water
  • Iris water is an antiseptic good for cleaning festered wounds
  • Iris mash can be used as an antibacterial poultrice

Hop leaves, bark from alder shrub and young clover Leaves

  • crush hop leaves into bowl, add powdered hops and shredded alder bark
  • pour a small amount of boiling water over mixture
  • the mixture streghthens the heart and acts as an antiseptic when consumed
  • the hops is a mild seditive

Willow Bark

  • strip the bark from a willow tree and steep to make a mild pain killer


  • tall, wandlike, slim-stemmed
  • large, bright flowers
  • roots can be made into a poultrice to reduce swelling and promote healing
  • an infusion of the flowers also acts as a mild sedative and pain killer


A totem a protective animal spirit. All members of the clan have a totem. Mog-urs have two. Totems are assigned to a child on his 7th day and hold great importance and significance throughout his life. Strong totems, predetor animals or large herd animals, are traditionally assigned to male children, while smaller, demure totems, like a hare or deer, are assigned to female children. The Mog-ur of the cave 'discovers' the childs totem through meditation and announces the totem by drawing the symbol of the totem on the childs body with red ochre paste.

  • Ayla - Cave Lion, one of the strongest of all the totems, second only to the cave bear
  • Iza - Deer
  • Brun - Bison
  • Creb - deer, Cave Bear
  • Grod - Brown Bear
  • Broud - Whooly Rhino


Women of the clan were forbidden to take on masculine tasks, such as hunting.


  • sling
  • bola