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Málaga gathers the most important collection of the Palaeolithic Art in the Mediterranean

Diputación de Málaga
Cueva de Ardales (3)

Málaga gathers the most important collection of the Palaeolithic Art in the Mediterranean

Cave art shows that human artistic nature has existed for millennia, as it can be seen in our caves

Prehistoric Cave Art is part of an extraordinary network of cultural heritage sites in Málaga, which includes art produced by the hunters and gatherers from the Middle Palaeolithic (from 65,000 BC to 45,000 BC); the Upper Palaeolithic (from 36,000 BC to 10,000 BC) and the Neolithic period (from 8,000 BC to 4,000 BC).

The monuments from the Middle Palaeolithic (Neanderthals) which stand out in Málaga are: the Cave in Ardales, La Pileta Cave (Benaoján), Victoria Cave (Rincón de la Victoria) and Nerja Cave. Cave art shows that human artistic nature has existed for millennia, as it can be seen in the above caves. 

The ruins in the Guadiaro Valley, in the westernmost part of the province, come from the Upper Palaeolithic. On the other hand, important ruins and relics are plentiful in the Guadalhorce basin, as well as in Málaga Bay, surrounded by the Serranía de Ronda, Sierra de las Nieves, El Chorro, El Torcal and the Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountains.

The most prominent caves in the Palaeolithic period are the Tesoro [Treasure] Cave (Rincón de la Victoria), Navarro IV (Málaga), Calamorro (Benalmádena), Gato [Cat] (Benaoján), Pecho Redondo [Round Chest] (Marbella), Las Suertes [Lucky Cave] (Antequera) and Las Vacas [Cows] Cave (Jorox, Alozaina).

The magnitude of the pictorial art which has been preserved and the fact that it embraces the art made by Neanderthals, turned this province into the centre of the Palaeolithic Art in the Mediterranean and one of the most important sites in the continent. In this case, animals are the most frequently depicted figures.

Since the Neolithic period, there were numerous villages thanks to the fertile land in the province of Málaga. The sketches and figure outlines were similar to those in the Palaeolithic and were made by minerals and coal. In this period, humans are more commonly depicted than animals.

Cultural elements such as cave paintings, dolmens, stone alignments, and so on, were emerging in these hamlets. One of the most significant types of art was Megalithic Art, which is represented by the Dolmens in Antequera, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. Burials in karst system, burial containers or chambers and structures are some of the remains.

Iberian Schematic Art, performed by village people from the Neolithic with first metals, has an exceptional example in the Caves of Peñas de Cabrera in Casabermeja.

However, Andalusian Government’s Catalogue of these cultural heritage sites includes many more places like Alfarnatejo, Almogía, Álora, Alozaina, Antequera, Archidona, Ardales, Benalmádena, Benaoján, Campillos, Cañete la Real, Casabermeja, Casarabonela, Carratraca, Cártama, Gaucín, Málaga, Marbella, Mollina, Montejaque, Nerja, Periana, Rincón de la Victoria, Ronda, Teba and Villanueva del Rosario. 

All things considered, here in Málaga, we are lucky to have at hand some of the best Palaeolithic sites that exist in the Mediterranean, which together with the relics from the Neolithic comprise a rather long period of time.

Other news of interest:
- Routes through the Province which Allow you to Learn about the Origins of Málaga and its Past
- Three Caves from Málaga of Great Geological and Archaeological Interest
- Nerja cave and its surroundings -one of the most spectacular caves in Spain