• Spain edition
 
Lost Spanish temple reveals scientific secrets
The light of the moon and the rising sun shines onto the temple walls to reveal hidden symbols. Photo: Flickr/ Juan Fco. Marrero

Lost Spanish temple reveals scientific secrets

Published: 23 Apr 2014 10:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Apr 2014 10:50 GMT+02:00

Archaeologist Julio Cuenca, who has been studying the area since the 1990s, believes the site is the only one of its kind in the world.

"It's like a projector of images from a vanished culture," Cuenca told Spanish national news agency Efe, referring to the Guanches, or aboriginal inhabitants of Spain's Canary Islands.

Guanches are thought to have migrated to the island chain some 3,000 years ago, but their culture began to disappear when Spain conquered the islands in the 15th century.

But Cuenca's study of the cave in the aboriginal region of Artevigua adds to the knowledge of their fascinating culture. 

Light from the rising sun enters the cave's  5-metre high dome room, from the spring equinox onwards, and is visible inside for about two hours every day from March to September.

It is projected onto the walls in a series of fertility images which change with the seasons.

Male phallic images appear on top of carved triangles, thought to represent the female pubic area. These images gradually shift to reveal a pregnant woman and then a seed. 

Cuenca has recorded the summer solstice inside the cave and also observed that moonlight created an image on the wall during the winter solstice.The sunlight also marks the points of solstices and equinoxes.

The local archaeologist has made a career from studying the settlements of the earliest inhabitants of the Canary Islands.

The names they gave to locations on the islands were wiped from maps in the 18th century when the Catholic Church Hispanicized the names of the local topography.

Cuenca described the astronomical knowledge necessary to design the Artevigua temple as "impressive" and more advanced than that seen in any of the other 21 caves which have been found in the area.

He noted that the discovery would lead to a reassessment of how people thought of the so-called "primitive" former inhabitants.

A webcam is being installed in the temple to allow the public to view the sunlight projections live via the internet.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Steve Tallantyre (news@thelocal.es)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'indignant' party closing in on PSOE: poll
Some 21.2 percent of voters would vote for the nine-month-old Podemos party headed up by Pablo Iglesias, the Sigma Dos poll shows. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Spain's 'indignant' party closing in on PSOE: poll

Spain's new left-wing Podemos party is hot on the heels of the country's main opposition socialist PSOE party with a new poll showing that more than one in five voters would vote for the party in general elections. READ  

Magaluf police chief charged over corruption
the claimants presented proof of extortion by policemen and Calvià Town Hall civil servants at Mallorca’s public prosecutor’s office on Friday. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Magaluf police chief charged over corruption

The head of Calvià police on the holiday island of Majorca has been arrested following corruption claims filed by businessmen and bar owners in the notorious binge drinking hotspot of Magaluf. READ  

Ashya King
Parents of brain tumour boy face Madrid court
Spanish policemen stand guard as a police van carrying the parents of Ashya King arrives at the courthouse in Madrid on Monday. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Parents of brain tumour boy face Madrid court

UPDATED: The parents of British boy Ashya King, who was taken out of hospital in Britain without medical consent, have seen their period of detention extended after appearing before a Spanish judge on Monday for an extradition hearing. READ  

Brain drain
Spain's brain drain 'worst in Western Europe'

Spain's brain drain 'worst in Western Europe'

Spain is among the European countries hardest hit by the so-called 'brain drain' effect with thousands of professionals including nurses and teachers taking steps to leave the country in recent years, new figures from the European Union show. READ  

Lamp post electrocutes urinating teenager
The victim collapsed from the shock and hit his head on the groundPhoto of lammpost and wiring: Shutterstock

Lamp post electrocutes urinating teenager

An 18-year-old man from the Spanish island of Majorca received a fatal electric shock on Saturday when he leaned against a lamp post while urinating. READ  

JobTalk Spain
Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions
Are you enchufado (plugged in) at your workplace? Photo of rich man: Shutterstock

Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions

With the summer holidays now over for most people in Spain, The Local has put together some of the most common and useful slang expressions used in Spanish workplaces to help ease the pain of the return to work. READ  

Man kills 'mother-in-law' while on prison leave
When police arrived at the victims’ address in the Madrid municipality of Arganda del Rey, the attacker was still there. Photo: Manuel M V/Flickr

Man kills 'mother-in-law' while on prison leave

A Madrid man stabbed his girlfriend's mother to death and seriously injured his partner while on a four-day prison leave on Saturday. READ  

EU politics
Economy minister faces long wait over EU job
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos attends a G5 ministers meeting press conference about fraud and tax evasion at the French Economy Ministry in Paris in April. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Economy minister faces long wait over EU job

Spain's economy minister Luis de Guindos, widely tipped by many to become the next leader of the Eurogroup forum of eurozone finance ministers, may have to wait for up to a year before he finds out if he has landed the role. READ  

Ashya King
'We only wanted best treatment for our son'
The hospital in Malaga where five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour, Ashya King, was placed after Spanish police located and arrested his parents late on Saturday. Photo: Marcos Moreno/AFP

'We only wanted best treatment for our son'

The arrested parents of a five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour who was taken from hospital without medical consent and found in Spain say they were simply looking for a proton therapy not offered by the UK health system. READ  

CaixaBank buys Barclays Spain for €800 million
Photo: Andrew Cowie/AFP

CaixaBank buys Barclays Spain for €800 million

Spain's third-biggest bank by capitalization CaixaBank is to buy Barclays' Spanish operations for €800 million ($1.1 billion) as the British bank undergoes major restructuring, Barclays said on Sunday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Ten things you need to know about Spain's La Liga
Opinion
Is tourism destroying Barcelona?
Society
Fashion fail: Zara pulls plug on 'Holocaust shirt' for kids
National
Man hurt as friend swaps ice bucket for plane
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Politics
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
International
Spanish police mistake Morocco's king for people smuggler
What's On
What's on in Spain: September
Society
Miss Spain comes out of closet on Instagram
Travel
Top ten: Spain's best natural swimming pools
Property
'Dying' town flogs off land for €200 to woo new blood
National
Gays to blame for Spain's trillion euro debt: senator
Society
Spain's anti-rape guidelines: 1) Close your curtains
National
Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts
Health
'Spain's hospitals aren't ready for Ebola'
Travel
Twelve things tourists do that annoy Spaniards
National
Swiss sex tourists slapped with seatbelt fine
Features
Top ten 'English' words made in Spain: Part 2
International
'I hate the black man in the White House'
Travel
Top 10: Spanish tourist traps you should avoid
National
127 kg of cocaine found on navy training ship
National
Spain's 14-year-old jihadist girl locked up
International
Fox News names Penelope Cruz 'idiot of the week'
International
Spain pulls plug on weapons sales to Israel
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,633
jobs available