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Largest concentration of Palaeolithic art in Eastern Iberia discovered at Cueva Dones



Archaeologists from the Universities of Zaragoza and Alicante have discovered the largest concentration of Palaeolithic cave art in Eastern Iberia during a study of the Cueva Dones.

Cueva Dones is a cave located in Millares, Spain, which was first discovered in 1821 when an earthquake exposed the entrance. The site consists of a single-gallery cave approximately 500 metres deep, that opens onto a steep canyon in the municipality of Millares.

In a recent study published in the journal Antiquity, archaeologists have identified over a hundred parietal motifs such as paintings and engravings which date from the Palaeolithic period around 24,000-years-ago. According to the researchers, Cueva Dones has the largest concentration of motifs in Eastern Iberia, and possibly Europe since the discovery at Atxurra (Bizkaia) in 2015.

Image Credit : Antiquity

110 graphic units have been identified, including at least 19 zoomorphic representations of animals such as horses, hinds (female red deer), aurochs, and stags. According to the study: “The rest of the art consists of conventional signs (rectangles, meanders), several panels of ‘macaroni’ (‘flutings’ made with either fingers or tools dragged across a soft surface), isolated lines, and poorly preserved unidentified paintings.”

A majority of the paintings have been made through the application of red clay found on the cave floor. Although painting in clay is known in Palaeolithic Art, examples of its usage are extremely rare.

“The Cueva Dones rock art is a key discovery in Mediterranean Palaeolithic art. While the project is still in its early stages, preliminary results reveal an enormous potential for research at the site and establish this assemblage as arguably the most important for the eastern Iberian coast,” said the study authors.


Header Image Credit : Antiquity

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Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow




Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.

Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.

Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.

The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.

According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”

Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”

University of Glasgow

Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust

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Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön




An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.

Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.

Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius

In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.

According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.

Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.

“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.

Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.


Header Image Credit : idw

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