This week a new paper on cave art has been published in response to the article by Bacon et al. (2023), which attempts to demonstrate through the association of figures that the meaning of Palaeolithic art is related to the life cycle of the animals depicted (migration, reproduction and parturition). In our article, this theory is contested from two points of view. Firstly, there are significant errors in the authors’ study corpus, such as the misinterpretation of some signs or the misperception of association between figures. Secondly, there is a large anachronistic bias in the analyses and interpretations of the results obtained, such as the assertion that Palaeolithic populations read these associations from left to right or the adaptation of current calendars to prehistoric times.
With this discussion article, we try to demonstrate that the study of Palaeolithic rock art is more complex than what these authors intend to demonstrate in their study and that trying to interpret the art in a global way is an unattainable goal. You can access it through the following link.
On 5th October, a new article was published that delves into the iconographic structure of Palaeolithic art in the Iberian Peninsula. Our statistical analysis revealed that various depicted animals, such as horses, bison, aurochs, and goats, were used as territorial markers in different time periods. It has been discovered that the distribution of certain key animal species, like bison or deer, fluctuates with respect to geographic region, while others, like horses or goats, are widespread throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
Full article here
The new edition of Muy Interesante Magazine Collector’s Edition nº 28 is now on sale, a monograph on the Altamira Cave in which our director Olivia Rivero has collaborated with an article on portable art in the Upper Palaeolithic.
Last week, our colleagues from Historias de Bolsillo, from Radio USAL, interviewed our director Olivia Rivero to talk about learning in Palaeolithic art. The full interview is available on their website and on our Twitter page. Don’t miss it!
This morning has been published a new article in which our director Olivia Rivero has participated. In it, a re-evaluation of the bone from the Torre Cave (Guipúzcoa) has been carried out through a technological and stylistic analysis enriched with more recent findings. It is one of the most complete bone specimens from the Iberian Peninsula, with pericylindrical decoration and a complex combination of motifs. It is profusely decorated with figurative representations (deer, horse, ibex, chamois, capercaillie and an anthropomorphic figure) and signs (simple lines, parallel lines, zigzags, etc.) in two rows in opposite directions.
If you want to know more, you can access the article from this link.
Image: ©Olivia Rivero
Last Monday 12th December we presented at the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria (MUPAC) our virtual reality application developed for the Hornos de la Peña cave (San Felices de Buelna, Cantabria) thanks to the research funded by the Government of Cantabria and the Proof of Concept Project “LidArt” funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
The aim of this application is to facilitate the visualisation of the graphic motifs of the cave to all those inexperienced tourists who wish to visit it, being a support tool for the guides of the cave. Thanks to it, and through mobile devices, visitors to the Hornos de la Peña cave will be able to see in situ and in great detail the engravings on its walls, sometimes invisible to the naked eye.
Olivia Rivero, principal investigator of this project, explained the development and implementation of the application at a press conference in which the Vice-President of Cantabria and Regional Minister for Universities, Equality, Culture and Sport, Pablo Zuloaga, the Director General for Cultural Heritage and Historical Memory, Zoraida Hijosa, and the Director of the Prehistoric Caves of Cantabria and the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria, Roberto Ontañón, also took part.
The technological development of the application has been carried out by the company Cinemedia & Heritage, and the future objective is to implement this technology in new sites containing rock art throughout Spain.
On 6 and 7 October, a workshop was held at the Faculty of Geography and History of the University of Salamanca to present the latest developments at the Siega Verde Palaeolithic open-air art site (Alba de Tormes, Salamanca). This meeting, entitled “Actualidad de la investigación en la Estación Paleolítica de Siega Verde”, was organised by CENIEH (National Centre for Research on Human Evolution, Burgos) and the Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport, through the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage, with the collaboration of the Department of Prehistory, Ancient History and Archaeology of the University of Salamanca, within the PaleoArte project of the Spain – Portugal Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme 2014-2020 (Interreg V-A).
Among the 15 papers presented, which analysed the current state of research on Siega Verde and the sites of the Côa Valley (Portugal), our director, Olivia Rivero, presented the research carried out at other open-air rock art sites, with the paper entitled “Arte paleolítico al aire libre en la Meseta Norte castellana: los yacimientos de Domingo García (Segovia) y La Salud (Salamanca)”.
Last week, Labtec members participated in the VII International Congress “The Art of Prehistoric Societies”, held in Cuenca. Our director, Olivia Rivero, presented a paper in the session “Data analysis and interpretation of prehistoric art”, in which she discussed the research carried out within the framework of the ArtMindHuman PID2021-125166OB-I00 project, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. In addition, we presented the results of various ongoing research projects, from the application of statistical analysis to the study of Palaeolithic art, to the use of GIS for the analysis of the spatial location of the sites. We also present our methodology for the three-dimensional restitution and enhancement of Palaeolithic art which you can see in our virtual museum: skfb.ly/o6stO
In addition, we had the opportunity to visit sites with Palaeolithic and post-Palaeolithic rock art, such as Selva Pascuala, Peña del Escrito, Cueva del Tío Modesto and Cueva de Los Casares.
From the Prehistoric Technology Laboratory, we would like to congratulate the organisers of the congress for such a successful meeting, both on a scientific and personal level, creating new research networks between researchers from different countries.
Finally, we would like to announce that the LabTec team has taken over, and the next ASP will be held in Salamanca in 2024. We look forward to seeing you!
This week our latest article has been published in the Virtual Archaeology Review about our virtual museum “PaleoArt 3D: back to the past”. In it you can see the process of creation and the utility that can be given to it, both from the point of view of dissemination and from the point of view of education. The 3D models exhibited in the virtual museum were created using photogrammetry in Spanish and French museums and sites such as Chauvet, Hornos de la Peña or Domingo García. Here you can access the museum free of charge: https://skfb.ly/o6stO
This article is part of a pre-doctoral contract of the Junta de Castilla y León and has been funded by a dissemination project of the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit of the University of Salamanca. We leave you the link to the article online.
This month a new article has been published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology that analyses the variability of themes and supports used in Cantabrian portable art from the Magdalenian period. Multivariate statistical tools have been used to carry out the relevant analyses, which have made it possible to determine the complexity in the selection of themes and objects over time.
The research is available in openacces, and you can access it from this link or in our publications tab.