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Title: Singularity and survival of rock art at the Ojo Guareña caves (Burgos, Spain)
Authors: Ortega Martínez, Ana Isabel
Martín-Merino, Miguel Ángel
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVII World UISPP Congress, 2014, p. 326
Abstract: The Ojo Guareña karst, located in the Cantabrian Range in the north of province of Burgos (Spain) in a relatively isolated area, is far away from the big natural routes of communication in the Iberian Peninsula. The Ojo Guareña Complex is one of the biggest cave systems in Spain, including fourteen interconnected caves with a total length of at least 110 km. The complex has an impressive record of Prehistoric activities, from the Middle Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Cave art is of special relevance, with sites dating from the Last Upper Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age, including the rock art of Cueva Palomera (with seven main sites) and six other caves, the Cueva de Kaite being of special value. The Paleolithic of Sala de las Pinturas in Palomera Cave is a unique rock art site which is chronologically and stylistically related to the last Magdalenian culture towards the transition to the Epipaleolithic culture (Pleistocene- Holocene boundary). The graphic record of Kaite site is represented by seminaturalists with deer and goat figures, some of which include young offsprings and surrounding lines and signs which enclose them. This graphic conception seems to have a continuity with local codes of the Paleolithic art, in the transition between the last hunter-gatherers and early farmers in the beginning of Neolithic times. The Sala de la Fuente in Palomera Cave, near the Sala de las Pinturas, shows a post-Palaeolithic rock art, where the graphic expression of the human figure is persistent. This site presents the same type of wizard (“Brujo”) anthropomorphous that can be found in Sala de las Pinturas, Paleolithic, perhaps because they had a special meaning. Interestingly, the same kind of schematic deer design engraved in Kaite Cave is also documented in this site. It is proved that the Kaite sanctuary is from an earlier period in time; however, these schematic designs are frequent in the Iberian Neolithic and Bronze Age art. The rock art of Sima de Villallana shows geometric signs linked with human remains and tumulus of sandstone boulders. The chronological data allow us to relate this site to the Late Bronze Age phases and the possible continuity with the ritual use of Via Seca maze, in Cueva Palomera, during the Iron Age. The graphic analysis and the comparison with different rock art sites from the Ojo Guarena Complex allows us to assess the continuity or the change in graphic activity and the population inside of an isolated territory. Moreover, these concept and space relationships among these rock art sites imply that the artists had to have a complete knowledge of this vast karst system from the Late Paleolithic until the Bronze Age. The use by these prehistoric people of the underground Landscape with symbolic activities is associated with the transformation of this cave-territory in a social and symbolic landscape for the community.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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