More than a hundred engravings found in Atxurra 14,000 years ago

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

The cave of Atxurra, located in Berriatua (Bizkaia), has long been known. Until recently, he noticed that he kept rock art. The finding has been the most spectacular result of the work begun in 2014, guided by the archaeologist Diego Garate, which can be compared to Altxerri (Gipuzkoa) or Erberua (Baja Navarra).
Diego Garate, with two horses. Ed. Bizkaia Provincial Council

They have counted 70 figures of animals, “but there is more than they”, said Garate. According to him, there will be between 100 and 150 images, “it will be the one that has the most in Euskal Herria”. Most are horses and bison and it is estimated that they will be around 14,000 years old.

To the left, bisonte with projectors; to the right, another bisonte. Ed. Bizkaia Provincial Council

Garate has admitted that they will take time to analyze everything well, but have already found some stone. For example, there is a bison full of launchers: “It’s the bison with the most launchers in Europe,” said Garate.

Besides horses and bison, there are also deer, uros and goats. All are made with the same technique: engravings on the wall and some drawn with black paint. Significant indications of how the paintings were made have also been found.

Given the abundance of engravings, Atxurra has become one of the most important caves of the Magdalenian era, also in that of Santimamiñe. Access to images is not easy, so they must place scaffolding and take security measures to analyze them. In addition to analyzing it, they intend to digitize it in 3D to make it available to everyone.

Research, publication and conservation is being carried out in collaboration with the Bizkaia Provincial Council, which has released the finding.

If you want to see the video of images of Atxurra, click here.

--> Interview with Diego Garate Maindagan (26-05-2016): “Atxurra is the cave with more images of animals from the Basque Country”



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