Cueva de Maltravieso

Cave of Maltravieso


Useful Information

Location: Cáceres, Extremadura
Open: All year Mon-Sat 9-14:30, Sun 9:15-14:30. [2020]
Fee:  
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave ExplainPainted Cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=77m.
Guided tours: D=30min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Carlos Callejo Serano (1958): La cueva prehistórica de Maltravieso junto a Cáceres, Cáceres.
Carlos Callejo Serano (1970), Catálogo de las pinturas de la Cueva de Maltravieso. XIº Congreso Nacional de Arqueología. Mérida, 1968, Zaragoza, 154-174.
Carlos Callejo Serano (1981): El símbolo de la mano en las pinturas rupestres, Coloquios Históricos de Extremadura, Trujillo.
S. Ripoll López et al., (1997): Avance al estudio de la Cueva de Maltravieso (Cáceres). El arte rupestre paleolítico en Extremadura, Jornadas sobre Arte Rupestre en Extremadura. Extremadura Arqueológica, Cáceres-Mérida, vol. VII: 95-117.
E. Ripoll Perelló, J.A. Moure Romanillo, (1979): Grabados rupestres de la Cueva de Maltravieso (Cáceres), Estudios dedicados a Carlos Callejo Serrano Cáceres, 567-572.
J.L. Sanchidrián Torti, (1988/1989): Perspectiva actual del arte paleolítico de la Cueva de Maltravieso (Cáceres), Ars Praehistorica VII-VIII, Barcelona,pp, 123-129.
Sergio Ripoll López, E. Ripoll Perelló et al (1999): Maltravieso. El santuario extremeño de las manos, Trabajos de Prehistoria vol. 56, issue 2, pp. 21–33.
D. L. Hoffmann, C. D. Standish et al (2018): U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art, Science. 359 (6378): 912–915.
Address: Cueva de Maltravieso, Avenida de Cervantes, s/n, 10005 Cáceres, Tel: +34-927222062, Tel: +34-927010877, Fax: +34-927010878.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1951 discovered by quarry workers in a limestone quarry.
1956 cave paintings discovered by Carlos Callejo Serano, cave under protection and quarry closed.
1963 declared a National Historic Landmark
1985 declared a Landmark of Cultural Interest.
1986 study of the paintings by a team led by Dr. Jordá.
1995 research project for the revision of the paintings and engravings.
1999 visitor center, the Centro de interpretación de la Cueva de Maltravieso, opened.
2002 first systematic archaeological research program.
2018 U/Th dating of hand stencil to 64,000 BP.

Description

The Cueva de Maltravieso is a karst cave which is famous for its prehistoric art. To protect the cave and its paintings the Centro de Interpretación de la Cueva de Maltravieso (Interpretation Center of the Cave of Maltravieso) was inaugurated in 1999. It is a subdivison of the Archeology Section of the Cáceres Museum.

The cave was a shelter for hunter-gatherers for the last 350,000 years. Most remains are from Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age. The early remains are from Neanderthals, the younger from Homo sapiens. There are Upper Paleolithic reddish paintings and thirty hand negatives, triangular geometric patterns, serpent-like lines and dots with parallel lines. Also there are engravings, the most impressive of a deer in profile.

As the cave paintings are fragile, the cave is closed to the public. But the Interpretation Center shows maps and pictures of the cave and the paintings. It also gives detailed information about the scientific exploration and the involved researchers.

The cave was discovered 1952 during quarry works in a limestone quarry in the city Cáceres. Despite some initial discoveries of human remains and ceramics the quarrying went on. The first 30m of the cave were destroyed in the following years. Actually the cave has today a length 77m, but is estimated to have been more than 130m long. The quarry was finally closed in 1956 after Carlos Callejo Serano discovered cave paintings and the cave was finally set under protection.