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Cave of Altamira Historical Facts and Pictures

Located in Cantabria, Spain, the historical cave of Altamira is an embodiment of creative spirit of the human beings.  Discovered in 1880, the cave displays upper Paleolithic paintings and altered the earlier perception that prehistoric man did not possess any intellectual ability.

Cave of Altamira

Cave of Altamira

Altamira Cave Pictures

Altamira Cave Pictures

Structure and Description of the Cave

Measuring approximately 300 meters long, the cave consists many chambers and twisted passages inside, along with the main passage, varying 2 to 6 meters in height. Archaeological excavations discovered that the cave was formed due to collapses in the calcareous rock of Mount Vispieres, through the karstic phenomenon. The cave floors are found rich with artifacts from two Old Stone Age periods, the lower Magdalenean and Upper Solutrean.

Altamira Cave Images

Altamira Cave Images

Altamira Cave

Altamira Cave

Art and Painting

The engravings, drawings and paintings of mammals and human on the cave walls display excellent features of symbolism, abstraction and naturalism and three dimensionality. Charcoal and hematite or ochre was used to create the painting which also bears impressions of chiaroscuro, the technique that represents the contrast between dark and light. The most remarkable display of art within the cave is the polychrome ceiling depicting a large doe, two horses and a herd of stepped bison in various poses.

Altamira Bison Painting

Altamira Bison Painting

Altamira Cave Paintings

Altamira Cave Paintings

In 2001, a nearby replica cave and museum were built by Sven Nebel and Manuel Franquelo, which offers a more comfortable view of the spectacular cave paintings. Some of the paintings of the cave have found its way into Spanish culture, such as the logo of the autonomous Government of Cantabria is based on the shape of a bison within the cave.

Cave of Altamira Painting

Cave of Altamira Painting

Painting of Altamira Cave

Painting of Altamira Cave

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Spain

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