The Cave of Altamira was first discovered by a hunter in 1868. However, excavations at the site did not begin until 1879 by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola. During these excavations, he first found stone tools and other objects made out of bones. Soon after, his daughter noticed the paintings on the ceiling and sides of the cave. Sautuola published his findings in 1880, which were largely disregarded as being forged. Because of this, it wasn’t until the end of the 1985 that the cave was established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some of the remains were dated back to 21,000 years ago, while others were dated back to another time period of up to 17,000 years ago. The cave measures a total of 971 feet long, for perspective, that’s about the length of 3 football fields! The main figures that were painted and engraved were bison’s, but there were also horses and does. Interestingly enough, there were also human handprints among these paintings.
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