Written by SoudipAugust 22nd 2014
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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.
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.
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.
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.