A brand new Paleolithic cave artwork web site has been found in Spain

The Paleolithic cave art site of Cova Dones, Spain: (a) painted aurochs head; (b) horse head made with clay; (c) panel with several motifs painted with clay, including animals and signs (some partly covered by calcite layers). Image credit: Ruiz-Redondo et al., doi: 10.15184/aqy.2023.133.

Archaeologists have found and examined greater than 100 Paleolithic work and engravings – believed to be not less than 24,000 years previous – at Cova Dunes in Millares close to Valencia, Spain. Their preliminary outcomes reveal a wealthy graphic assemblage with options uncommon for Mediterranean Higher Paleolithic artwork, and beforehand unknown for the Pleistocene of the jap Iberian coast.

Paleolithic cave art site at Cova Dunes, Spain: (a) drawing of the aurochs' head;  (b) Horse head made of clay;  (c) A panel containing several clay-painted decorations, including animals and signs (some partly covered by calcite layers).  Image credit: Ruiz Redondo et al., doi: 10.15184/aqy.2023.133.

Paleolithic cave artwork web site at Cova Dunes, Spain: (a) drawing of the aurochs’ head; (b) Horse head fabricated from clay; (c) A panel containing a number of clay-painted decorations, together with animals and indicators (some partly lined by calcite layers). Photograph credit score: Ruiz Redondo et al., Monday: 10.15184/aqy.2023.133.

The Cova Dunes web site consists of a single-galled cave, roughly 500 meters deep, opening right into a steep valley within the municipality of Millares close to Valencia, Spain.

The cave is well-known to locals and is commonly visited by hikers and explorers, however the presence of Paleolithic work went unnoticed till archaeologists made this thrilling discovery in June 2021.

Up to now, they’ve been capable of establish greater than 110 graphic models, together with not less than 19 animal representations, positioned in three totally different areas of the Cova Dones.

Though it’s deep contained in the cave (the principle embellished space is about 400 meters from the doorway), all of the areas, panels and figures it accommodates are simply accessible with out the necessity for climbing.

The animals depicted are seven horses, seven hinds (feminine pink deer), two aurochs, a deer, and two unidentified animals.

The remainder of the artwork consists of standard marks (rectangles and squiggles), a number of “pasta” work (“flutes” made with both fingers or instruments dragged throughout a easy floor), remoted strains, and poorly preserved unknown work.

“Once we noticed the primary painted aurochs, we instantly acknowledged its significance,” mentioned Dr. Aitor Ruiz Redondo, an archaeologist on the College of Zaragoza and a researcher affiliated with the College of Southampton.

“Though Spain is the nation with the most important variety of Paleolithic cave artwork websites, most of them are concentrated in northern Spain.”

“Jap Iberia is a area the place just a few of those websites have been documented to this point.”

“Nonetheless, the precise ‘shock’ to the conclusion of its significance got here lengthy after the primary discovery.”

“As soon as we began the suitable systematic survey, we realized that we had been dealing with a significant web site of cave artwork, akin to could be discovered elsewhere in Cantabrian Spain, southern France or Andalusia, however which is totally absent on this space.”

The massive variety of decorations and the number of strategies used to create them make Cova Dones an important Paleolithic cave artwork web site on the jap Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Actually, it’s doubtless that it is a Paleolithic cave that accommodates the most important variety of decorations found in Europe since then. embarrassed (Bizkaya) 2015.

“The animals and indicators had been depicted by merely dragging the fingers and palms lined in clay on the partitions,” mentioned Dr. Ruiz Redondo.

“The cave’s humid surroundings did the remainder: the ‘drawings’ dried very slowly, stopping elements of the clay from falling off rapidly, whereas different elements had been lined with layers of calcite, preserving them till as we speak.”

“Though clay portray is thought in Paleolithic artwork, examples of its use (or preservation) are uncommon. At Cueva Dons, that is the principle approach.

the group paper It was printed within the journal Antiquity.


Aitor Ruiz Redondo et al. Cova Dones: a significant Paleolithic cave artwork web site in jap Iberia. Antiquity, printed on-line September 8, 2023; doi: 10.15184/aqy.2023.133



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