Politicians squabble over Rincón’s vandalised rare prehistoric cave

Experts and Guardia Civil inspect the forced entrance to the archaeological site.
Experts and Guardia Civil inspect the forced entrance to the archaeological site. / E. Cabezas
  • The town’s new PP mayor was wrong to say there was irreparable fresh damage to the ancient cave paintings, says the Junta

The newly sworn-in PP mayor of Rincón de la Victoria has lost no time in rallying against his predecessor over the upkeep of the jewel in the crown of the town’s archaeological heritage.

Francisco Salado took over as mayor on 5 June after winning a vote of no confidence against the existing PSOE administration. Within a few days he had criticised the outgoing party for failing to properly protect the Cueva de la Victoria, a prehistoric cave which is highly valued as it has both Paleolithic and Neolithic cave paintings next to each other. The cave isn’t open to the public and is reached by climbing down a vertical shaft.

The new bosses at the town hall reported that the lock on the shaft had been forced and damage done to the rare prehistoric artworks, including scratches and graffiti. In addition, tables and chairs, an old mattress and broken bottles of alcohol where found inside the shaft.

After a few days of accusations and counteraccusations, a visit from architects from the Junta de Andalucía and the land’s owners, Edipsa, plus Guardia Civil investigators clarified the situation.

According to their expert analysis, the rare paintings weren’t damaged and the graffiti found predates 1998, when the site was first locked up. “Pending the final report, the initial study shows that there is no new damage to the heritage site,” explained the Junta’s cultural representative in Malaga, Monsalud Bautista.

The cave is normally closed off and forms part of a public park containing the town’s archaeological sites, opened in 2005. This green space also includes the Cueva del Tesoro, which, in contrast, is adapted so it can be open to the public.

However, despite the clarification that no new vandalism has taken place in Cueva de la Victoria, the town hall has said that the previous PSOE council’s decision to cancel security in the archaeological park has contributed to that cave being misused. Previous mayor, Encarnación Anaya has denied the new mayor’s accusations.