Caves of Monte Castillo
|Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|UNESCO region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1985 (9th Session)|
The Caves of Monte Castillo, located in the Cantabrian town of Puente Viesgo, contain one of the most important Paleolithic sites in the region. The complex of caves of Monte Castillo is included in the list of World Heritage of UNESCO since July 2008, within the site «Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain». These include the caves Las Monedas, El Castillo, Las Chimeneas, and La Pasiega.
The caves contain decorations in red ochre in the forms of hand stencils (from as far back as 35,300 BC) and dots. One red disk or dot has been dated to 40,800 years ago, making it the oldest dated cave decoration in the world as of 2014.
This set of caves is located along the Pas river in the Castillo mountain, squarely at the intersection of three valleys and near the coast. This is a fertile ground for agriculture, hunting and fishing, which explains the emergence of several prehistoric settlements there.
- "U-Series Dating of Paleolithic Art in 11 Caves in Spain" by A.W.G. Pike et al., Science, 15 June 2012: 1462.
- "Oldest confirmed cave art is a single red dot" by Michael Marshall, New Scientist, 23 June 2012, pp. 10-11.