| 2 June 2016
Cave art found deep underground in Spain
Spanish archaeologists say they have discovered an exceptional set of Palaeolithic cave drawings that could rank among the best in a country which already boasts some of the world's most important cave art.
Chief site archaeologist Diego Garate says that an estimated 70 drawings were found on ledges 300 meters underground in the Atxurra cave in the northern Basque region, describing the site as being among the top 10 in Europe. The engravings and paintings feature horses, buffalo, goats, and deer, dating to between 12,500 and 14,500 years ago.
Garate says access to the area is so difficult and dangerous that it is unlikely to be open to the public.
The cave was discovered in 1929 and first explored in 1934-35, but it was not until 2014 that Garate and his team resumed their investigations and the drawings were found.
"No one expected a discovery of this magnitude," said Jose Yravedra, a prehistory professor at Madrid's Complutense University. "There a lot of caves with drawings but very few have this much art and this much variety and quality."
Garate says one buffalo drawing depicts what must be the most hunting lances of any in Europe. Most have four or five lances but this has almost 20.
Yravedra says that, given the cave's hidden location and the number, variety, and quality of its drawings, the site was being classified as a "sanctuary," or special Palaeolithic meeting ritual place, like those at Altamira in Spain, or Lascaux in France.
Regional officials hope to set up a 3-D display of the art so that the public can appreciate it.
Edited from Phys.org (27 May 2016)
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