Monfragüe Castle cave paintings shelter
Monfragüe is home to one of the most representative and important nuclei of cave paintings in the Iberian Peninsula. Proof of this are the 107 rock art shelters catalogued to date in both the National Park and the Biosphere Reserve. There are 16 in our municipality, including the best known and the only one that can be visited: El Abrigo del Castillo. The shelter of Monfragüe Castle has a wide representation of prehistoric rock art, which includes paintings made between the Epipaleolithic period (about 9000 years ago) and the Iron Age (about 2500 years ago). Most of the existing paintings correspond to Schematic Art, which emerged with the Neolithic, when an important social change took place, when mankind abandoned hunting and gathering as a functional method of survival and began the domestication of animals and plants through their cultivation.there are several types of paintings: anthropomorphic (with various human forms), zoomorphic (animal forms) and ideomorphic (schematic figures such as bars and dots). The thicker ones are made with the fingers, but small branches, hair brushes or bird feathers are also used for the thinner ones. There are different types of pigments: the red ones are mostly iron oxide, while the black ones are made with manganese oxide. In Monfragüe there are also white pigmentations, arising from gypsum or kaolin.
As we have said, the Abrigo del Castillo de Monfragüe is the only point in the public use area where you can see the cave paintings in the Monfragüe National Park. Here we can admire figures that were painted in the Epipaleolithic (8000-7000 B.C.). The best example is a deer that is blurred among the best known block: that of the anthropomorphic paintings. Part of the figures of this panel, the upper ones, thicker and with a duller red color, are from the Neolithic period, while the lower ones, thinner and better finished, are more modern and can be dated to the Bronze Age. Precisely from that same period is the rest of the existing cave paintings, which have different zoomorphic forms, lines and finger representations. Most of the representations that can be observed are human figures painted in a very simple, schematic way, in which the social structure of the time can be observed. You can also observe different animals that existed at that time. In the same shelter there are also representations of Tartessian writing, already from the Iron Age, which can be seen in black. Its phonic transcription would be: KO.N.KO.KO.L.TI.R.U.
Proyecto subvencionado por la Consejería de Economía, Ciencia y Agenda Digital de la Junta de Extremadura y fondos FEDER de la Unión Europea, Proyecto Pueblos Inteligentes.