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Reconstruction of Pepita's face with artificial intelligence, based on the remains found in the Nerja Cave. SUR
Pepita: the 10,000-year-old star of the new Nerja cave audio guide

Pepita: the 10,000-year-old star of the new Nerja cave audio guide

The audio story was directed by Benito Zambrano who was on the Costa to present his latest film, El Salto, at the Festival de Málaga

Francisco Griñán

Nerja

Friday, 8 March 2024

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A new audio story about Pepita, the 10,000-year-old woman discovered in the Nerja cave in the 20th century, was released on Monday at the cave itself.

The dramatised guide was directed by filmmaker Benito Zambrano, who was also in Malaga to present his new film, El Salto, at the city's festival.

Pepita's remains date back to the Epipalaeolithic period and are the best preserved in Europe. An AI reconstruction of her face made last year revealed what she may have looked like.

"Instead of the narrator's voice you always find in audio guides, the project uses Pepita as the guide, telling her story and that of the Cueva de Nerja," Zambrano explained to SUR.

Reconstruction of Pepita's face with artificial intelligence, based on the remains found in the Nerja Cave.
Reconstruction of Pepita's face with artificial intelligence, based on the remains found in the Nerja Cave. SUR

The new narrated audio provides updated information about the popular tourist attraction, where scientists are still discovering areas beyond those open to visitors.

The latest studies on Pepita reveal that she is around 9,900 years old and that she was about 19 when she died. The cause of death cannot be determined exactly, although statistically it was most likely due to childbirth or postpartum complications.

Pepita was 1.5 metres tall, meaning she was shorter than the average woman at the time, she was left-handed and suffered from a severe infection in her left ear, which left a scar on her skull.

Analysis of her skeleton has also revealed similarities to those of some present-day African populations and that Pepita would have been black.

Zambrano's film El Salto (The Jump) shows the harsh reality of people from Africa as they wait on Mount Gurugú for an opportunity to cross the fence in Melilla to get to Europe.

The director compared the story of modern migrants to that of Pepita. "She was an African woman who arrived here along with the rest of our ancestors ten thousand years ago. If they had come across a fence, Pepita wouldn't exist," reflected the director.

The new audio story is available in Spanish with an English version coming at the end of the month.

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