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Virtual reconstruction of the Palaeolithic landscape in Santimamiñe cave (Bizkaia, Spain)

Abstract: Santimamiñe Cave, in Biscay (North Spain) is a well-known archaeological site in the region because of its prompt discovery and excavation in the early 20th century and its ensemble of parietal art. The latest studies have identified human occupation in the entrance from the Lower Magdalenian, while the inner passages were presumably decorated in the Middle and Upper phases of the period (about 16.5 to 14.5 ka). One of the particularities of the cave is its lithochemical deposits in the form of numerous speleothems which acted as a tourist attraction. These formations coat the original passage of the cave, which formed in Lower Cretaceous limestone in the Basque-Cantabrian basin. They have created obstacles (squeezes, climbs, ramps, irregular floors, etc.) which hamper movement through the cave. In fact, Santimamiñe is known for the location of its Palaeolithic art in places with very difficult access. This complicated structure of the cave meant that work had to be carried out during the 20th century so that Santimamiñe could be used as a show cave. Unfortunately, the alterations mean that it is now difficult to imagine what the cave was like in the Magdalenian, when it was decorated. The present study has proposed and developed a methodology for the virtual reconstruction of the cave, based on a geomorphologic study of the karst, the analysis of historical records and three-dimensional digitalisation of the cave. It has thus been possible to reconstruct virtually the form of the cave when it was decorated. This is a key step for a more detailed understanding of human behaviour related to artistic production in the Middle and Upper Magdalenian.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Fuente: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2023, 52, 104219

Editorial: Elsevier

 Año de publicación: 2023

Nº de páginas: 15

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2023.104219

ISSN: 2352-409X,2352-4103