August 20, 2015

The Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain


A slice of prehistoric Europe in the heart of modern day Spain, the Atapuerca mountain range in Burgos is home to a network of caves containing fossils and stone tools belonging to the earliest known humans.

And it has just got an extra taste of the prehistoric as bison, for years extinct in Spain, have been reintroduced to the area.

Bison were immortalized in the stone age cave paintings at Altamira, in Cantabria, northern Spain. 

It is part of the Paleolítico Vivo project, a prehistoric park where visitors can experience what life was like hundreds of thousands of years ago in Spain.

The park has been running for three years, its aim to create an area "unique in the world"  Fernando Morán, who is in charge of the project, told Europa Press.

As well as receiving its new four-legged residents, the park was given Unesco’s highest honour this week when it was made a Site of Exceptional Universal Value. It had previously been made a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Bison were only reintroduced back into the wild in Spain in 2010, after becoming extinct throughout much of Europe. The last wild European bison was killed by poachers in 1927, while around 50 remained in zoos.

Paleolítico vivo - which covers over 1,000 hectares - has introduced two males and one female to join the female bison who currently calls the park home. The new animals - the biggest herbivores in Europe - come from Holland and Germany.

As well as bison the park has nine new Przewalski’s horses, a rare and endangered species of wild horse and models of various prehistoric animals.

The park’s owners aim is to make a park "for all the family" where they can be "immersed in the prehistoric", something which makes it "unique in the world" according to Fernando Morán. 

The excavation of Atapuerca began in 1964 and has unearthed remains from early humans to the Bronze age and beyond.

By Jessica Jones
With man thanks to the Local 

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