Archaeologists from the University of Alicante have discovered a new site with prehistoric cave paintings in Penagila, Spain. The drawings date back 7,000 years and were discovered during a drone survey of the Castellet Barranc del Salt and Porta de Penagila gorge. The survey is part of a pioneering project that uses small drones to explore inaccessible mountain shelters.
The researchers photographed and recorded video of walls in 18 shallow gorges and found two recesses with murals. The most remarkable of these is in the Del Salt Gorge, where anthropomorphic figures of archers, deer and goats, some of them wounded by arrows, are painted, as well as images in a schematic style that is more difficult to interpret.
Further study of this art form will contribute to an understanding of how cave art developed in the region during the Neolithic period.
“The use of drones resulted in the discovery of a new site with prehistoric rock art of different styles, which we believe will be very relevant to research,” explained Molina Hernandez, one of the archaeologists and drone pilots involved in the project.
The General Directorate of Culture and Heritage of the Generalitat de Valencia was officially informed of the discovery, and the authenticity and significance of the find were verified during the investigation of the cavity, made possible by the collaboration of mountaineers Alex Mora y Monllor and Natxo Gómez Ors.
This find could be “the beginning of many other discoveries that will take place in the coming years in shelters that went unnoticed because they were located in hard-to-reach places,” Hernandez added. According to researchers, this is one of the most important Neolithic rock art sites documented in the Valencian community in recent decades.