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Alcaucín

Diputación de Málaga
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    An 18th-century chapel founded by Doña Ana de Bejar built in baroque style, with a square ground plan and half-point entrance arch supported by two pilasters. As the chapel that serves the...

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    A number of archaeological discoveries have been made: at Zalia Castle, where ceramic remains from several periods were unearthed and, in particular, in El Boquete or Bulba de Zafarraya, in the...

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    Located in the Fountain street, there is no assurance of its construction. Its present appearance is the restoration that took place in the 90s of the twentieth century. This popular fountain, known...

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      Recommended month to visit it:  February . Near the Natural Monument of Los Tajos del Alcázar, the ruins of an ancient Moorish fortress that give name to the area [alcázar being the...

A number of archaeological discoveries have been made: at Zalia Castle, where ceramic remains from several periods were unearthed and, in particular, in El Boquete or Bulba de Zafarraya, in the Alcaucín district.

The Neanderthal jawbone discovered in 1983 in the caves known as Boquete de Zafarraya, was the best-preserved relic of its type ever found.

The cave is located some 400 metres south west of the mountain pass of El Boquete de Zafarraya and about 450 metres from the village of Ventas de Zafarraya, in the province of Granada. Its entrance is situated at the foot of a 1,022-metre-high limestone cliff. The cave is very small, only penetrating some 20 metres into the rock, while its width varies between 0.5 and 2.5 metres. Its morphology is reminiscent of an underdeveloped crevice.

 

Between 1990 and 1995, archaeological digs commissioned by the Andalusian Regional Government were carried out. In 1996, this research was centralised at the Centre Européen de Recherches Préhistoriques (European Prehistoric Research Centre) in Tautavel (France). The complexity of the project has seen the intervention of a number of organisations from both Spain and abroad, which has enabled this important site to be explored in greater detail. Zafarraya cave is very small in diameter and very uncomfortable, the exact opposite of what might be considered a good place to live. Fortunately, its entrance faces south, so the cave enjoys sunlight for most of the day. It is worth noting that just a few metres from the cave there are outcrops of low-quality flint which were scarcely used by the Neanderthals, who preferred instead the higher-quality raw materials to be found in Alcolea (Periana) and Alfarnate, seven and twelve kilometres away respectively. This choice of raw materials reflects a great awareness of the environment and its resources.

The human Neanderthal remains found in the cave are numerous, though most of these are fragmented, only the jawbone found in 1983, still the best preserved of its type ever found, remaining intact. The most noteworthy of the Neanderthal bone fossils found in Zafarraya cave are those exhumed from inside the home itself, which comprise two femurs, a tibia and a jawbone. Binocular analysis of the surface of these has revealed numerous grooves where the flesh had been stripped away and signs that the cheeks and tongue had been removed in the case of the jawbone. The evidence provided by the discovery of burned human bones, along with the irrefutable proof provided by the cuts made in the bones with a stone object as a result of skinning, suggest that rather than a ceremony of a symbolic nature, this was simply an act of cannibalism.

DATA obtained from studies undertaken by Don Luis Gerardo Vega Toscano (Professor of Prehistory at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and Don Cecilio Barroso Ruiz (pre-historian and director of excavations at Zafarraya Cave).

Links of interest

Escudo de Alcaucín
Town Hall
Plaza de la Constitución, 1, 29711 
952510002
952510076
Areas