Archaeologists Reveal One of the Largest Paleolithic Cave Art Sites in Europe


Archaeologists have unearthed a trove of Paleolithic art at the Cova Dones site in Millares, near Valencia, Spain. This monumental discovery includes over 100 engravings and paintings believed to be around 24,000 years old, making it the most significant find of its kind on the Eastern Iberian Coast.

Though frequented by local enthusiasts and explorers, the hidden gems within this 500-meter cave remained a mystery. It was only in June 2021 that a joint team from the universities of Zaragoza and Alicante in Spain, in collaboration with the University of Southampton in the UK, stumbled upon these ancient masterpieces.

A Pioneering Study Reveals the Art’s True Worth

Detailed findings of this archaeological wonder, emphasizing its profound significance, have recently been featured in the reputable journal, Antiquity.


Dr. Aitor Ruiz-Redondo, a notable figure in prehistory from the University of Zaragoza, reflected on the moment of discovery, stating, “The sight of the first painted auroch was a clear indication of its importance.” He further added that while Spain boasts many Paleolithic art sites, most are found in the north. This makes the Eastern Iberian discovery even more remarkable.

Echoes from the Past: Artistry on the Cave Walls

As the team delved deeper into their study, they unveiled over a hundred motifs, encompassing a vast range of techniques. Among these, at least 19 animal depictions were identified, ranging from hinds and horses to aurochs and deer. An intriguing aspect of these artworks is the predominant use of clay as the medium.

Dr. Ruiz-Redondo elaborated on this, explaining that the moist cave environment helped preserve the artworks. By using clay-covered fingers and palms, artists created depictions that dried slowly, with some parts subsequently shielded by calcite layers, ensuring their survival to this day.


With a majority of the cave yet to be explored, researchers believe that many more artistic treasures await discovery. The Cova Dones site has not only redefined Spain’s archaeological landscape but also promises to unravel more about our shared human heritage in the coming years.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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