Tito Bustillo Cave

Tito Bustillo Cave
Carved staghorn found in the cave
Location in Spain
Tito Bustillo Cave (Spain)
Location Ribadesella
Region Asturias, Spain
Coordinates 43°27′38.52″N 5°4′3.72″W / 43.4607000°N 5.0677000°W / 43.4607000; -5.0677000Coordinates: 43°27′38.52″N 5°4′3.72″W / 43.4607000°N 5.0677000°W / 43.4607000; -5.0677000
Site notes
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part of Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
Criteria Cultural: (i), (iii)
Reference 310bis-003
Inscription 1985 (9th Session)
Extensions 2008
Buffer zone 243.38 ha (601.4 acres)

The Tito Bustillo Cave is a prehistoric rock shelter located in the small town of Ribadesella, in the autonomous community of Asturias, Spain. The cave was inhabited by humans (cro-magnon) before the year 10,000 BC. Due to the collapse of the rock, the original entrance to the cave was sealed thousands of years ago, which made it possible for preservation of objects, tools and wall paintings that were discovered in 1968. Based on those objects found in the cave, it is known that there was a significant human presence during the Magdalenian culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, but the cave was probably inhabited before that time.

The Tito Bustillo Cave has been designated a World Heritage Site, as part of the Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain, and it counts with 12 prehistorical paintings, making it one of the most complete examples of the prehistoric art in the north of Spain. The oldest of these paintings is around 40,000 years old, as determined by radiocarbon dating, and some scientists believe it could have been made by Neanderthals,[1] though this theory hasn't been proven.

Some of the paintings represent animals: horses, deer, moose and even a marine animal (probably a whale) [2] and they are believed to have had some kind of ritual purpose to improve their hunting. There is also a panel representing female genitalia and it is believed to have had the intention to invoke fertility. The oldest painting in the cave represents an anthropomorphic figure, part male, part female.

Apart from the paintings, some objects from the Magdalenian period were perfectly preserved. The most important ones are some harpoons made of bone and a carved staghorn of a goat head.


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