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Caver finds 20,000 year-old drawings

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Paintings found in the Aurea cave in Cantabria. Photo: Government of Cantabria
10:04 CET+01:00
Prehistoric cave drawings have been discovered in the northern region of Cantabria, dating back about 20,000 years, making the area "the European capital of rock art".

The discovery is the first time that Paleolithic art had been found in the immediate area, the government of Cantabria said in a statement on Thursday.

Culture minister Miguel Angel Serna said the findings make the region a "museum of the Paleolithic period."

"A finding of these characteristics is not found every day, and represents a significant contribution to our heritage, making Cantabria the European capital of rock art," said Serna in a statement.

The art was discovered in the cave 'Aurea', located 50 metres above the river Deva, by the president of a caving club and his wife, La Razón reported.

The couple immediately notified the Museum of Archaeology and Prehistory in Cantabria. Experts examined the cave on Sunday and have since closed it for preservation, though officials told La Razón that the site could become attractive to tourists.

The cave drawings include what appears to be a reoccurring sign, consisting of a red vertical line and dots and appearing at different locations within the cave. Some paintings appear to be draw by fingertip while others appear to be made by blowing paint onto the wall. 

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The Paleolithic period is characterized as when humans first made primitive stone tools. Humans during this period usually lived together in small hunter-gatherer societies.

Another cave in Cantabria, the 'cave of the castle', contains the oldest cave art in the world, dating back more than 40,000 years.

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