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Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
2008 Sep 29

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Altamira, famous for its Upper Palaeolithic cave paintings featuring drawings and polychrome rock paintings of animals and human hands, is a World Heritage Site. This has now been extended to 17 other caves of north-western Spain.

Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain

In July 2008, during its annual meeting in Montreal, UNESCO unanimously inscribed seventeen Palaeolithic decorated caves on its World Heritage List as an extension to the Altamira Cave, inscribed in 1985. The property will now appear on the List as 'Cave of Altamira and Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain'.

Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain

It was then stated that the property represents the apogee of Palaeolithic cave art that developed across Europe, from the Urals to the Iberian Peninusula, from 35,000 to 11,000 BP. Because of their deep galleries, isolated from external climatic influences, these caves are particularly well preserved.

Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain

The caves are inscribed as masterpieces of creative genius and as humanity's earliest accomplished art. They are also inscribed as exceptional testimonies to a cultural tradition and as outstanding illustrations of a significant stage in human history.

Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain

The caves are situated in three Spanish Autonomous regions. In addition to Altamira, they are:

Basque Country: Altxerri, Ekain, Santimamine.

Cantabria: El Castillo, La Pasiega, Las Monedas, Las Chimeneas, El Pendo, Covalanas, Hornos de la Pena, La Garma.

Asturias: Covaciella, Chufin, El Pindal, Llonin, Tito Bustillo, San Roman de Candamo.

Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain

There are now 878 Unesco World Heritage sites across 145 countries - 679 cultural sites, 174 natural sites and 25 mixed sites.


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