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Modelled clay animals in Aitzbitarte IV Cave: A unique Palaeolithic rock art site in the Cantabrian Region

Abstract: Aitzbitarte hill is a classic archaeological site for the Upper Palaeolithic in the Cantabrian Region. Excavations in caves III and IV were started at the end of the 19th century and continued during the next, revealing broad sequences of human occupations. The first very modest evidence of parietal art was located in 2012 in Aitzbitarte IV, and shortly after in 2015, more clear evidence of Gravettian and Magdalenian rock-art manifestations were reported for caves III, V and IX. In 2017, Felix Ugarte Elkartea speleologists located a new decorated gallery in a chimney inside the main gallery of Aitzbitarte IV. The preliminary study, presented in this paper, reveals a unique rock art composition where the natural clay from the walls was engraved and modelled in some cases to create low-relief bison, horses, reindeer and vulvas. This uncommon technique, totally unknown in the archaeological record of the Iberian Peninsula, the formal conventions (horns and legs in perspective, closed eyes in bison, scapular quarterings in the horses, etc.) and the presence of vulvas engraved in clay (as in Bédeilhac, Montespan or Oxocelhaya), relate this cave to Middle Magdalenian rock-art sites in the French Pyrenees region. The new data from Aitzbitarte IV, together with data recently obtained from the surrounding caves, provide insights into symbolic networks at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic in Western Europe.

 Autoría: Garate D., Rivero O., Rios-Garaizar J., Intxaurbe I., Salazar S.,

 Fuente: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 31, June 2020, 102270

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 01/06/2020

 Nº de páginas: 12

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102270

 ISSN: 2352-409X,2352-4103

 Proyecto español: HAR2017-87739-P