Siega Verde

Siega Verde

The Siega Verde site is located on the banks of the Águeda River, in the province of Salamanca, very close to the border with Portugal. Together with the Foz Côa site (Portugal), it is the best example of Palaeolithic art in the open air. The site was discovered in 1988 by M. Santonja and R. Pérez, and its importance earned it recognition as an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1998, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

The ensemble identified by Santonja and Pérez is made up of a total of 94 panels on slate blocks, located along the banks of the Águeda River for around 3 km. The representations have been engraved, both using the technique of pitting and incised engraving, and the dominant theme is animal representations, mainly of horses and aurochs, followed by goats and cervids. According to stylistic characteristics, it has been possible to define both pre-Magdalenian and Magdalenian representations, in the same way as in other open-air sites such as those of the Côa Valley or Domingo García (Segovia).

Currently, the site can be visited both during the day and at night, and has an Interpretation Centre which contextualises the creation of Siega Verde art within the Palaeolithic chronology and its relationship with other similar sites.

In 2022, a new study of the rock art at Siega Verde began, with the aim of restoring the decorated panels three-dimensionally using photogrammetry and structured light scanning, as well as the technical analysis of the engraving. During the campaigns carried out, all the motifs already known have been identified and located by GPS, as well as including the new figures recently discovered in the inventory. The identification and inventory work was combined with the creation of 3D models by photogrammetry and the use of lidar technology, which made it possible to create a high quality three-dimensional database very quickly.

The Siega Verde site is a reference in terms of engraving typology, as it documents the technique of pitting, consisting of the extraction of parts of the rocky support by a succession of impacts from a tool. This technique also appears in other sites with rock art in the open air, such as the sites of the Côa Valley (Portugal) or Domingo García (Segovia). As part of the PALEOARTE project, financed by the Junta de Castilla y León, we have carried out an experimental project to determine what type of tool and technique was used to carry out these pittings. To do this, we have reproduced, using different techniques, various animal traces and figures on a similar support to the one found at Siega Verde.