Cave engravings at least 20,000 years old discovered in Navarra

Cave engravings thought to be at least 20,000 years old have been discovered in the Alkerdi 2 cave in the Navarra municipality of Urdazubi/Urdax

An unusual set of cave engravings, corresponding to typical graphics of the Gravettian period of between 28,000 and 20,000 years ago, has been located in the Alkerdi 2 cave in the Navarrese municipality of Urdazubi/Urdax .

As reported by the Government of Navarra, these findings consist of a dozen engraved figurative representations, among which are bison, aurochs, and horses, with at least five series of lines attached to them, double traced in red paint.

They were located in a network of narrow galleries that are accessed by an almost impossible pothole, all at a very deep point in the cavity, two floors below the current cave entrance.

Diego Garate, a specialist in prehistoric rock art, from the University of Cantabria, conducted the preliminary study, which was be presented at the European Heritage Days this Saturday, October 2, in Urdazubi/Urdax.

Although the research is still in its early stages, they point out that it is an exceptional set of engravings, since it presents unusual characteristics in Paleolithic rock art.

Olivia Rivero, from the University of Salamanca, and a member of the research team, pointed out that “the technological study of the engraved grooves shows that the person who made them lacked the skills of artists”.

She added, “in this sense, it seems likely that it was an apprentice, or inexperienced artist, because he is not capable of creating continuous and safe lines”.

This seemingly inconsequential detail has great implications for future research and interpretation of rock art, since “generally, the walls seemed reserved for those with an artistic mastery, as if access to them were restricted, but this new gallery has dislodged us totally”, says Garate.

In 2016, black and red paintings and engravings were located in the same project, which led to the discovery of Alkerdi 2 as the second known Paleolithic decorated cave in the Foral Community.

Going back in history, the Alkerdi and Berroberria caves began as archaeological sites back in 1930 when N. Casteret discovered the first Palaeolithic cave engravings in Navarra, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at