Coves Prehistòriques de Serinyà

Parc de les Coves Prehistòriques de Serinyà - Caves of Reclau


Useful Information

Location: Near Serinyà. At Road C-66, kilometer 51.
Open: JUL to AUG daily 10-19.
SEP to JUN Sat, Sun 10-17.
Information: All year Mon-Fri 8-15.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 6.
[2020]
Classification: Speleologytufa cave Speleologyprimary cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography: David Brusi, R. Linares, Julià Maroto, L. Pallí, R. Pujadas, S. Ramió, Carles Roqué, Narcis Soler (2005): The prehistoric caves of Serinyà (Pla de l'Estany, Girona), 116. 247-256. researchgate
Address: Parc de les Coves Prehistòriques de Serinyà, C-66, 17852 Serinyà (Girona), Tel: +34-972-593-310. E-mail:
Information, Tel: +34-972-573550, Mobile: +34-628-819-820. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1871 first archaeological excavations by Pere Alsius i Torrent.
1943 archaeological excavation by Dr. Josep Maria Corominas.
1973 22,300 years old skull found, which is the oldest remains of modern human in Catalonia.
1996 park created by the Pla de l'Estany County Council.
2001 excavation of Mollet Cave.

Description

The Parc de les Coves Prehistòriques de Serinyà protects three caves which were used by man since 200,000 years. The name simply refers to the nearby town Serinyà and is not the name of a cave, the caves are named caves of Reclau. The caves are quite small and not easily recognized as caves, looking more like shelters or overhanging cliffs, but they contained a wealth of human remains. The caves were inhabited 200,000 years ago during the Middle Paleolithic by Homo heidelbergensis. Later, between 90,000 and 39,000 years ago, by Homo neanderthalensis. The Neanderthal remains are quite exceptional and make it one of the most important European Neanderthal sites. In the Neolithic period between 7,000 and 4,700 years ago the caves were a temporary refuge and workplace of Homo sapiens. During the Bronze Age it was used intermittently between 4,700 and 3,100 years ago.

Cova de l'Arbreda (Arbreda Cave) is the most important cave in the park. It is so exceptional, because the ceiling which is almost completely gone now, was continually breaking down for the last 100,000 years, continually covering the human remains with gravel. What remains does not resemble a cave any more. But it contains well prserved remains from Neanderthals (90,000 to 39,000 years ago) and modern humans(39,000 to 16,000 years ago). It is currently in the process of being excavated.

Cova de Mollet (Mollet Cave) actually still looks like a cave, but nevertheless the entrance section has degraded and that's the place where most of the remains were found. It contains the oldest human presence in all caves some 200,000 years ago. The oldest human remain of Catalonia is a 200,000 year old tooth found here. At this time humans already used fire. When the cave was not used as a shelter by humans it was frequented by large carnivores like bear or hyena. Bones of ancient elephant, prairie rhino, cave lynx, horse, deer, fallow deer, roe deer, bull, bison, donkey and rabbit were discovered. Most likely they were all brought here by carnivores after the hunt.

Cova del Reclau Viver (Reclau Viver cave) is a cave with two parts, the entrance hall where the roof is intact and the gallery or corridor, where the roof mostly collapsed. The remains here start with the modern human, 39,000 years ago. The remains older than 15,000 years were very well protected by the collapse of the gallery roof at this time. During the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages the cave was occasionally used as a shelter, as a grain store, or as a burial place.

The first excavations were made by Pere Alsius i Torrent, a pharmacist by profession, in 1871. He was the first to identify lake sediments and realize the importance they had for determining the geological, prehistoric and historical past of the region. At this time the caves were almost completely filled with debris and not easily recognizable as caves.

The park protects the caves, offers guided tours and some experimental archaeology. It is possible to try archery with with a reconstructed bow, learn about the production of Neolithic tools liek a knife made from a piece of an antler. You can try to light a fire with flint, fibres of dried tree sponge and wood shavings, and eat a Stone Age lunch.