Rare and unusual cave mural — dating back thousands of years — discovered in Spain
A rare and cryptic mural dating to the Bronze Age was recently discovered in a cave in Spain.
The mural, composed of cross-hatching lines carved into a cave wall, spans about 26 feet, according to a March 17 news release from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution.
The remarkably preserved finding dates back between 3,000 and 5,000 years, and is one of the most important compositions from the post-Paleolithic period ever found in the Mediterranean area, researchers said.
Speleologists — scientists who study caves — stumbled upon the subterranean cavity, located in northeastern Spain, in 2021. It was initially discovered in the 1940s, but its location had since been lost.
After passing through a small hole, the speleologists came upon an oval-shaped cavern about 1,000-square-feet in size, where they noticed the ancient carvings.
One of the researchers was overcome with emotion when he gazed upon the mysterious etchings, knowing that they could be very old.
After it was photographed and examined by experts, the mural was certified as authentic and researchers notified the Spanish Department of Culture.
The art appears to feature animals, stars and an idol, researchers said. The figures were likely carved using a stone or wooden tool, though some may have been made exclusively by hand.
The animals, potentially representations of horses or cattle, appear at the bottom of the mural and the night sky appears at the top, indicating symbolic meaning, not random composition, researchers said.
The cave has been enclosed to ensure its protection and optimal climatic conditions, and it will be laser-scanned so that a 3D reconstruction can be made.
Some of the oldest known cave art in the world is located in Spain, France and Indonesia, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.
Cave art is “one of the first expressions of the human animal’s appreciation of beauty and a representation of a mystic or sacred side to life,” according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Google Translate was used to translate the news release from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution.
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