• Spain's news in English
Stunning cave paintings found 300 metres below Spain
Archeologist Diego Garate with the cave paintings in Atxurra. Photo: bizkaia.eus

Stunning cave paintings found 300 metres below Spain

Jessica Jones · 26 May 2016, 11:34

Published: 26 May 2016 11:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A series of prehistoric cave paintings has been uncovered in the Basque Country, northern Spain, in a discovery experts have called a "once in a generation" find.

The paintings, which include those of bison, horses and goats, were discovered by archeologist Diego Garate at a depth of 300m in the Atxurra caves, around 50km from Bilbao.

The paintings are between 12,000 and 14,000 years old and depict traditional hunting scenes, including a bison pierced "with over 20 spears" - which marks the cave painting of a bison with the most spear marks in all of Europe.

The cave paintings at Atxurra. Photo: bizkaia.eus

"It is an exceptional find, the equivalent of discovering a lost Picasso," Garate told The Local on Thursday.

"Discoveries of this caliber are not made every year, at most, once a decade. It is important because of the quantity of figures depicted, their excellent conservation and for the presence of associated archeological materials such as charcoal and flint tools," Garate added.

Photo: bizkaia.eus

The cave joins that at Altamira as one of Spain’s most exciting and best-preserved set of cave paintings and for Garate, marks a career high.

"Without doubt it is the most important discovery of my career," he told The Local. 

"I have been searching the caves of the Basque Country for ten years and have discovered lots of new caves but none as important as Atxurra. It could very well be the cave with the most animal figures in the Basque Country," he added.

Story continues below…

The Atxurra caves were originally discovered in 1929, but as the paintings are at a depth of 300 metres, they went undiscovered until now. 

Spain boasts a number of cave paintings including Altamira, which has been billed as the "Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic art". 

In March 2015, 20,000-year-old cave paintings were discovered in Cantabria, northern Spain, making the area the "European capital of rock art". 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available