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Candamo Cave's live TV broadcast

15 Aug 2014
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The Candamo Cave in Asturias on the north-west coast of Spain, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008, hosted a unique experience earlier this month. As 2014 is the centenary of the discovery of this important painted and engraved cave, Dr. Jean Clottes was invited to give a live televised lecture from within the cave.

The rock art of the Candamo Cave in Spain

The live TV broadcast was introduced by Professor Adolfo Rodriguez Asensio, the Director of Heritage of Asturias and a rock art specialist. Jean Clottes' lecture, entitled 'The Origins of Art and the art in Candamo', discussed the importance of the Candamo Cave and covered much ground on cave paintings and rock art in general, as well as new observations made by Jean Clottes in Candamo, such as a particular sign - a triangle open at each of its three ends - which was identical to two engraved signs from Chauvet. This meant that there probably was an Aurignacian phase, roughly 35,000 to 25,000 years ago, in Candamo which was older than the previously thought Solutrean age of 21,000 to 16,500 years ago.

The prehistoric painted cave of Candamo in Spain

The cave was first studied in 1914 by E. Hernandez Pacheco, who documented the paintings. No artefacts or other remains of human occupation were found in the cave, although they were found in another small cave nearby. The art begins on an inclined roof in the initial chamber, the Gallery of the Signs. The emblematic painting in Candamo is the mare in foal located in what is known as the Chapel.

Most of the paintings are concentrated in the main chamber, especially on a wall nearly eight meters long and over two meters high on its left-hand side, consisting of figures painted in brown and red, black dots, figures engraved with simple or striated lines, and figures painted and engraved in black.

The paintings and engravings depict aurochs, stags, horses, ibex, bison and chamois, as well as anthropomorphic figures. The painted figures predominate in the higher panels of the cave, whilst the engraved images are on the lower, more accessible panels. Due to the deterioration of some of the paintings, the cave was closed to the public in 1980. Jean Clottes told the Bradshaw Foundation that 'it was one of the most enjoyable yet bizarre lectures I have given in my life - inside a beautiful cave, with very important cave art, yet blinded by lights and unable to see the small audience!'

To watch the interview in Spanish click the link below:



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