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Alcaucín's Neanderthal visitors' centre is set to open next year

Photo of the main entrance to the Zafarraya cave.
Photo of the main entrance to the Zafarraya cave. / EUGENIO CABEZAS
  • Remains were found in the Boquete de Zafarraya cave in the late 1970s and now the town hall has plans to attract visitors to learn about them and the area

Alcaucín town hall announced plans earlier this week to open a visitors' centre to promote the discovery of Neanderthal remains discovered in the area in the 1970s and 1980s.

Professor and archaeologist, Cecilio Barroso, came across the remains in the Boquete de Zafarraya cave while holidaying in the area in 1979. Between 1982 and 1983 various other Neanderthal bones, some of which are now on display in the Museo de Málaga, were also discovered.

Now the town hall has revealed plans to open a visitors' centre in the existing art centre in the village, as well as build a footpath to allow visitors to access the cave itself.

The visitors' centre is set to display replicas of the remains found during the excavations as well as silicone models depicting a typical Neanderthal family. There will also be information about the Medieval Zalia castle, which is situated on what was the royal Malaga to Granada highway during the Islamic period. Alcaucín shares a boundary with the province of Granada.

"The project fell behind due to a new public contracts law, but everything is ready so we can publish the contract now," said former mayor and current councillor for urban development and heritage, Mario Blancke.

The contract is for the work to adapt the existing arts centre as phase one of the project and phase two should see the construction of the footpath to access the cave itself. However, the land is privately owned so negotiations with the landowners need to take place first, Blancke explained. He added, "The inland villages of the Axarquía need to promote their rich cultural and historic heritage and we need to have agreements with the Nerja and Rincón de la Victoria caves too."