Discovering our ancestors, the Neanderthal
The province of Málaga is a real treasure trove for those people who are interested in old times. I mean prehistoric times. This province has so much to offer in the form of archaeological sites, caves, dolmens, and necropolises. For those of you who want to find out about the origins of man, here you will find many leads and answers.
Málaga is famous for many things, for having, as many people state, the best climate in Europe. A lot of tourists come here the whole year round to enjoy the beaches, local food, pretty villages and towns, and its colorful and easy way of life. After all, Málaga is in Andalucia which still has, even in these hectic modern times, a quite easy going pace.
Not as easy going as it was 40 years ago. They have picked up speed by now and even if the word mañana is still being used you can expect the plumber to come the next day.
Art made 65,000 years ago
There have been archaeological finds in many places but internationally, Málaga was not that famous yet. This has changed recently. It was confirmed that the art in the Ardales cave, made by the Neanderthals, was 65,000 years old.
Suddenly Málaga and its prehistoric past became news and interesting in the eyes of an archaeologist on an international level, as well as to the normal people who became intrigued.
Paleolithic and Neolithic people lived here
There are in total 13 important sites, combined with 6 museums, which make the discovery of the prehistoric past of Málaga so exciting. This period starts with the appearance of hominids in the area around 3.300 BC, the time when the first writings were used. In various areas, the remains of Paleolithic and Neolithic people have been discovered.
Other areas of interest include the area of Ronda and the Sierra de las Nieves, along with the coast to Marbella and in Antequera. The north-south axis of this rural area called Axarquia.
The biggest collection of rock art
The Pileta Cave in Benaojan is filled with rock art and has been dated as far back as 40,000 years up to 4,000 years ago. It is the largest collection of rock art in the province that dates from Paleolithic to the Neolithic periods.
This cave has been open to the public since 1920 and Jose Tomas Bullon, the owner and guide for visitors, tells us there are more than 20,000 symbols.
Another cave which is open to the public is the Cueva del Gato (cave of the cat). Sadly this cave has been damaged and looted in past times. The major of the village tells us that in the 1960s 3 skeletons were found inside but not much more is known about it.
The transition of Neanderthal to modern man
German scientist Prof. Dr. Gerd – Christian Weniger, the director of the Neanderthal Museum is enthusiastic about the small chasm of the Sima de las Palomas situated in Teba. He stated this is a unique place which has brought to light information regarding the transition of Neanderthal to modern man.
Some of the finds are 50,000 years old. Close by, you will find the Ardales Cave in which many symbols and figures of different periods have been discovered.
A World Heritage site
Not too far away from Málaga, you will be able to visit one of the finest megalithic sites in the south of Europe. It is the only natural monument classified by Unesco as a World Heritage site, the Dolmen of Antequera in the Málaga province.
The Menga and Viera dolmens, and the Tholos of El Romeral with the Lovers Rock, and El Torcal form this complex. This is one of the most visited places in the province.
Not so far away to the south is the town of Campillos. There you will find the Necropolis de las Aguilillas, which gives an excellent example of the funerary rites which were being celebrated in artificial caves like in the Dolmen of Antequera.
The famous Nerja Cave
Then there is the area named Axarquia. There you will find one of the greatest examples of cave art. The Nerja Cave was discovered in 1959 and represents one of the greatest sites in Europe. It was occupied during the Paleolithic period and used as a cave sanctuary. In the cave, more than 50 figurative elements were found, of deer, goats, and horses.
When I came to the Costa del Sol in 1976, I heard about this special cave. Years later I went there for the first time to enjoy some of the summer cultural functions that are held there. Concerts, ballet, and famous singers have all performed in the Nerja Cave.
A memorable concert in the Nerja Cave
I once went to a concert by Monserrat Caballe. She sadly died last year. The Spanish world-renowned singer performed with her daughter Marti. It was a magical evening, sitting in the Nerja Cave. The cave has a very special acoustic. For those who do not know who she is, Freddy Mercury performed the song Barcelona with her.
I will give you a list of the different museums :
Here you will find a lot of information about prehistory. The building used to be the former Customs building. It holds more than 2,000 archaeological pieces. Malaga capital has many more interesting museums to suit all tastes.
This is an open-air museum where you will find remains from different periods.
Information and documentation about the Nerja Cave. It is now 60 years ago that this cave was discovered. It certainly put Nerja on the map and most visitors to the Costa del Sol will make a trip to see this village with the spectacular cave.
You will find a big collection of pieces found in the surrounding area. Ronda is worth a visit as besides interesting places to see you will be impressed by the spectacular views.
Prehistoric Museum of Ardales
This is one of the most important museums of the history of Málaga. Ardales is a rural village and close by you will also find the Caminito del Rey, if you dare you can walk this path.
Necropolis-Museum of Alameda
Funerary rites from the third millennium before our time.
There are many more places you can visit in the province of Málaga, a treasure trove for people interested in the far away past. Besides enjoying the beautiful nature you will find on your trip, you will be surprised by the nice and friendly people living inland in the smaller villages.
Source: Sur Newspaper, Nov. 9th to 15th, article by Fernando Torres
Photo Source: Pixabay.
Perhaps you like to read my post on Ronda.