Roca dels Moros

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
The Dance of Cogul. Tracing by Henri Breuil.
Type Cultural
Criteria iii
Reference 874
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1998 (22nd Session)

The Roca dels Moros or Caves of El Cogul is a rock shelter containing outstanding paintings of prehistoric Levantine rock art. The site is in El Cogul, in the autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. Since 1998 the paintings have been protected as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (reference 874).[1]

Inscriptions in Northeastern Iberian script and in Latin alphabet, one of which is an ex-voto, indicate that the use of the place as a sanctuary extended to Iberian and Roman times.

Near the paintings there is a cemetery with tombs carved into the rock.

The dancers of Cogul[edit]

At Roca dels Moros there are forty-five figures, of which thirty-eight are painted bright red, black and dark red, seven are engraved on stone. A dance scene is the most famous of the paintings. Nine women are depicted, something new in Spanish art. Some are painted in black and others in red. They were seen dancing around a male figure with abnormally large phallus. Along with humans, there are several animals.

Discovery and conservation[edit]

The paintings were discovered in 1908 by the village rector, Ramon Huguet, and a report was published in the same year.[2] The first prehistorians to study the paintings, such as Henri Breuil and Juan Cabré, took the view that Levantine rock art belonged to the palaeolithic. There is now a consensus that the paintings are post-palaeolithic, although uncertainty persists as to their date.

Conservation work has been carried out on the paintings under the auspices of the Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya. There are plans to build a visitors centre to interpret the site and to promote Cogul in the context of a "route of rock art", linking it to similar sites in Catalonia such as Abrics de l’Ermita at Ulldecona.[3]


  1. ^ Rock Art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, UNESCO
  2. ^ Las pinturas rupestres de Cogul, Ceferí Rocafort, Boletín del Centro Excursionista de Cataluña (Bulletin of the Field Club of Catalonia), 1908
  3. ^ (Catalan) (Spanish) Interpretation Centre of the Roca dels Moros (


  • (Catalan) Volume I of the Història de Catalunya directed by Pierre Vilar: Prehistòria i història antiga, Joan Maluquer de Motes.
  • (Catalan) Anna Alonso Tejada, Alexandre Grimal Navarro (2007): L´Art Rupestre del Cogul. Primeres Imatges Humanes a Catalunya, Pagès Editors, Lleida, ISBN 978-84-9779-593-7.
  • Alexandre GRIMAL, Anna ALONSO (2007): Catálogo de Cataluña, Cuenca, Albacete, Guadalajara y Andalucía ("Catalogue of Catalonia, Cuenca, Albacete, Guadalajara and Andalucia") from Catálogo del Arte Rupestre Prehistórico de la Península Ibérica y de la España Insular. Arte Levantino ("Catalogue of prehistoric rock art of the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish Islands. Levantine Art"), Real Academia de Cultura Valenciana, Archaeological Series, nº 22, Valencia, I-II Vols, pp. 113–252 (Vol I), pp. 41–85 (Vol II). ISBN 978-84-96068-84-1.
  • (Catalan) Anna ALONSO TEJADA, Alexandre GRIMAL (2003): L´art rupestre prehistòric a la comarca de les Garrigues, III Trobada d´Estudiosos de la Comarca de les Garrigues, Ajuntament de Cervià de les Garrigues (Lleida), pp. 17–25.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°27′53.23″N 0°41′49.56″E / 41.4647861°N 0.6971000°E / 41.4647861; 0.6971000