Shanidar, Safe Return

Video Artist: Cecilia Dougherty
Duration: 0 min 0 sec


An interactive story by Cecilia Dougherty is available on

Shanidar, Safe Return is an interactive story that places a young Neanderthal woman named Haizea in the center of a community’s struggle for survival, as the Cro-Magnins (Homo sapiens) migrate to their once-peaceful territories. Haizea and her band of mixed – Neanderthal and Cro-Magnin – travelers must walk the distance from danger in what is now southern France to safety in their old refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, a place called Shanidar. They meet a group of Denisovans on the way, and receive guidance from the old H. heidelbergensis shaman, Bihotz.

Created in Twine.

Cecilia Dougherty

Cecilia Dougherty has been creating media art since the mid-1980s, having made over 30 video works in experimental narrative, documentary, and installation. She has published numerous stories and essays as well as a book, Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change (2013), about connectivity and community. Her most recent visual art is web-based interactive fiction (IF). She has written, illustrated, coded and created original soundtracks for two IF pieces, Time Before Memory, and the sequel, Shanidar, Safe Return, and is currently working on a new IF piece. She has a PhD in Media Philosophy and her video works are archived at the Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley Art Museum. She is based in New York.