Caves in Cantabria

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Roof of the Cave of Altamira (replica) - National Archaeological Museum.

The Cantabria caves' unique location make them an ideal place to observe the settlements of primitive man thousands of years ago. The magnificent art in the caves includes figures of various animals of the time such as bison, horses, goats, deer, cattle, hands and other paintings. Archaeologists have found remains of animals such as bears, the remains of arrows and other material indicating a human presence; these artifacts are now found mostly in the Regional Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria.

With rock art

Cave of Altamira

Main article: Cave of Altamira

The Altamira Cave is located near Santillana del Mar. This cave, called the "Sistine Chapel of Quaternary", is relatively small (270 m) stands the impressive representations of animals such as sixteen bison, several depictions of deer, the largest of which is 2.25 meters, and horses. The cave was included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site since 1985.

Cave of Cullalvera

Cullalvera Cave is located in the municipality of Ramales de la Victoria, capital of the comarca of Valley of the Asón River. The entry for this cave near the village arises from a Cantabrian oak, and it is part of a karstic complex about 12 kilometers in size, in which can be found a multitude of geological forms arising from the action of water over the thousands of years since the cave's creation. These forms in conjunction with the other prehistoric remains and recent public opening of the cave make it one of the most visited of the region. Remains of a small reservoir and rock art, both from the Paleolithic have been found here.

Cave of La Fuente del Salín

Fuente del Salín Cave is located in the municipality of Val de San Vicente, contains an archaeological site discovered in 1985. The path is accessible only in times of drought because it lies along an underground river. The remains found are a reservoir belonging mainly to the Upper Paleolithic, dated to 22340 years ago by Carbon-14 dating and also a hearth; rock art and several negative handprint paintings are visible in this room in addition to positive handprint paintings in other rooms.

Cave of Chufín

Main article: Cave of Chufín

Chufín Cave is located in the town of Riclones. It is located at the confluence point of several rivers and Nansa Lamasón in an environment with steep slopes where there are several caves with rock art. Chufín indicates different levels of occupation, the oldest being around 20000 years old. The cave, despite its small size, has some profound simplicity and subtle red prints of paintings of deer, goats and cattle that are represented very schematically. It also found a large number of symbols. One group, called "sticks", accompanies the animal paintings inside the cave. There is also a large number of pointillist drawings, including some around each hole in the rock which have been interpreted as a representation of a vulva. The cave has been included in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2008.

Cave del Porquerizo

Main article: Cave del Porquerizo

Del Porquerizo Cave is a cave in the town of Celis, in the municipality of Rionansa. It is reached by a path leading up from the center of town, which then traverses down a steep slope. There are remnants of the cave's occupation from the Solutrean era, as well as Paleolithic cave paintings, dating between 20,000 and 17,000 years old. There are some rock paintings, in a red pinpoint style, and some indistinct carvings. Its context and its morphology have been classified as a style of Leroi-Gourhan III.

Cave of Micolón

Main article: Cave of Micolón

Micolón Cave is an archaeological site on the verge of the Palombera Reservoir. It is a cavity of 500 meters with a particularly narrow labyrinthine structure, in which have been found some flint carving, such as some nodules with signs of having been worked and a chisel. The remains belong to the Solutrean occupation period, between 20000 and 17000 years old. There are several examples of rock art, including 22 rock carvings and several red paintings, basically framed in a room near the entrance. There are deer, horses and tectiform inscriptions, all style III of André Leroi-Gourhan.

Cave of Los Marranos

Main article: Cave of Los Marranos

Los Marranos Cave is located in Venta de Fresnedo, in the municipality of Lamasón; to access the cave, you have to follow a path that leads directly to two spring mouths. Geologically, it is acts as a drain in times of flooding, but has a spacious entry with rock art. Remains of Paleolithic art represented mainly by carvings in quartzite. On the other side is a bronze buckle from the late Middle Ages, indicating the possibility that the cave could have served as a shelter for travelers. In 2000, it was declared BIC by the Ministry of Law.

Cave of El Portillo

El Portillo del Arenal Cave is located in the village of Velo, in the municipality of Piélagos. It contains well-preserved rock art, in addition to pottery fragments and funerary remains.

Cave of La Meaza

Main article: Cave of La Meaza

La Meaza Cave is located in the municipality of Comillas, to reach it you have to take the road Cabezón de la Sal - Comillas. At this village, take the turnoff to the district of La Molina and before him there is a path leading to the cavity. Found in the cave remains of Solutrean, Azilian and even some so-called evidence Asturiense, recent prehistoric burials and the remains of the Middle Ages. The fact that occupancy has many times explained by the shape of the cave, with a wide entrance and a comfortable lobby to your room. At the bottom of the cavity found some remains of Paleolithic rock art framed in the style III of Leroi-Gourhan, although unfortunately not been kept too well.

Cave of Las Aguas

Las Aguas Cave is located in the town of Novales, in the municipality of Alfoz de Lloredo. This cave contains rock art, including two bison carved and painted in red, a doe, a horse, a clavate, a sign on the grill and several more configurations. These remains have been dated chronologically in the early or middle Magdalenian period.

Cave of El Linar

El Linar Cave is located in La Busta, a town in the municipality of Alfoz de Lloredo. The path is an arroyo of more than 7 kilometers with three mouths which join the stream of Busta. Paleolithic materials have been detected and also remnants of Magdalenian era occupations. In one of the galleries is a group of animalistic motifs recorded as goats, bison and ibex. There is also another group of paintings of lines and vulvas and remains of the Bronze Age.

Cave of Cualventi

Cualventi Cave is located in the town of Peralada, in Oreña in the municipality Alfoz of Lloredo. In this cave we can find several red spots using the techniques of "buffered" and "spot" to show a huge bison, goats, deer and horses very similar to the Cave of El Pendo, Cave of Covalanas and other cantabrian caves. Your approximate dates of Magdalenian age.

Cave of La Clotilde

Main article: Cave of La Clotilde

La Clotilde Cave is located in the town of Santa Isabel de Quijas in the region of Reocín. Remains suggest that this area was occupied during the Magdalenian period and also its cave paintings date from before the Aurignacian period, which include representations of animals and other symbols of unknown nature.

Cave of La Estación

Main article: Cave of La Estación

La Estación Cave is located near the cave of La Clotilde, in Santa Isabel de Quijas. This cave is notable for the presence of paintings in a large room with representations of horses and other signs which are not identifiable, dating from about the Aurignacian or Gravettian times.

Cave of Sovilla

Sovilla Cave is located in the neighborhood of the same name in San Felices de Buelna and near the cave of Hornos de la Peña. It is characterized mainly by the wall paintings that show deer, horses, bison and reindeer. The picturesque setting belongs to the Magdalenian period.

Cave of Hornos de la Peña

Hornos de la Peña Cave was discovered in 1903 and is situated on a hill near the village of Tarriba, San Felices de Buelna. The most notable paintings are a headless bison, horse and others at various levels in the first room and the second set of 35 figures are animals such as horses, bison, aurochs, goats and other animals. The dating of the paintings indicate that they were created in the initial or middle Magdalenian period.

Others

Plan and layout of the rock images of Gallery A, in Cave of La Pasiega.
  • Cave Redonda
  • Cave of Las Brujas
  • Cave of La Pila
  • Cave of Cudón
  • Cave of Santián
  • Cave of El Calero II
  • Caves del Monte Castillo
  • Cave of Juyo
  • Cave of El Pendo
  • Cave of La Llosa
  • Cave of Los Moros
  • Cave of La Garma
  • Cave of El Salitre
  • Cave Del Morro del Horidillo
  • Cave of Pondra
  • Cave of Arco
  • Cave of La Venta de la Perra
  • Cave of Sotarriza-Covanegra
  • Cave of El Haza
  • Cave of Covalanas
  • Cave of San Juan de Socueva
  • Cave of Sotarraña
  • Cave of Los Emboscados
  • Cave of Cofresnedo
  • Cave of Cobrante
  • Cave of El Otero
  • Cave Peña del Perro
  • Cave of San Carlos
  • Cave of El Cuco
  • Cave of Urdiales
  • Cave Juan Gómez
  • Cave of La Lastrilla
  • Cave Grande

Without rock art

Cave of El Soplao

Main article: Cave of El Soplao

El Soplao Cave is a cave located in the municipalities of Rionansa, Valdáliga and Herrerías in Cantabria (Spain). This single cavity is admired worldwide for the quality and quantity of geological formations (speleothems) housed in its 17 miles in length, although only 6 are open to the public. In it are rare formations as helictites (eccentric stalactites defying gravity) and "draperies" (sheets or translucent banners hanging from the ceiling). Its formation dates back to the Mesozoic, in particular the Cretaceous period 240 million years ago.

Cave of La Chora

La Chora Cave is located in San Pantaleon de Aras and includes a number of chert items as well as flint blades and scraper backs and Magdalenian bone harpoons.

Cave of Ruso

Ruso's Cave was discovered in Igollo, Camargo and provided materials from the Paleolithic and Bronze Age which were, as is traditional, moved to the Museum of Prehistory of Santander.

There were several ceramic items which have the classic Beaker culture bell shape and the point of a retouched plane object. The Cave of Juyo has a long sequence of Magdalenian artifacts, though no rock art.

Cueva del Valle

Cane of Cave del Valle.

Del Valle Cave is located in the municipality of Rasines Cantabria (Spain). It is also known by locals as "La Viejarrona." It has a majestic entry from which springs Silent River, a tributary of Ruahermosa, both of Assos. It is a very important site, both prehistorically as well as speleologically; it dates to about the Azilian and Upper Magdalenian.

Cueva Morín

Morín Cave or "Cave of the King" is in Villaescusa (Cantabria). A great many items of interest ot archaeologists have been found in this site, dating from the Middle Paleolithic, such as the famous body cast of the so-called "Man of Morín". Thanks to the artifacts found in this cave, archaeologists have been able to study the habits of earlier hominids.

Chronology of discoveries

Name Date Discoverer
Cave of Altamira 1879 Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola
Cave del Castillo 1903 Hermilio Alcalde del Río
Cave of El Salitre 1903 Lorenzo Sierra
Cave of Covalanas September 1903 Hermilio Alcalde del Río
Cueva de La Haza September 1903 Hermilio Alcalde del Río y Lorenzo Sierra
Cave of Hornos de la Peña October 27 of 1903 Hermilio Alcalde del Río
Cave of Venta Laperra 1904 Lorenzo Sierra
Cave of La Clotilde 1906 Hermilio Alcalde del Río y H. Breuil
Cave of Sotarriza August 12 of 1906 Lorenzo Sierra
Cave of Meaza 1907 Hermilio Alcalde del Río
Cave of El Otero 1908 Lorenzo Sierra
Cave of Las Aguas 1909 Hermilio Alcalde del Río
Cave of La Pasiega 1911 H. Obermaier y P. Wernert
Cave of Las Monedas 1952 Alfredo García Lorenzo

See also