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The most important open-air cave paintings in Andalucía are in Malaga and they can be visited for free
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The most important open-air cave paintings in Andalucía are in Malaga and they can be visited for free

Discovered in 1976 by a shepherd, some thirty rock shelters feature almost 200 paintings and engravings dating from the Neolithic and the Copper Age periods

Almudena Nogués

Malaga

Wednesday, 31 January 2024, 18:48

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The most important rock art collection in Andalucía is a little known treasure and can be visited for free at the Peñas de Cabrera site, around four kilometres from Casabermeja in the Montes de Malaga. Some thirty rock shelters with graphic motifs that feature almost 200 figures of schematic paintings and engravings dating from the Neolithic and the Copper Age can be visited on a simple route, which is ideal for the whole family.

The area, which is located on a small hill of very hard and compact siliceous sandstone, has been classified as an asset of cultural interest for its "exceptional values" since 2012. As the Junta de Andalucía explains on its website, the Peñas de Cabrera paintings are nestled in an extraordinarily well-preserved landscape, filled with fauna and flora typical of the Mediterranean region “of great ecological value”. A 4.5-kilometre easy, circular route can be completed in about 2.5 hours. There is also the option of visiting the site direct from the parking area via a track.

Imagen principal - The most important open-air cave paintings in Andalucía are in Malaga and they can be visited for free
Imagen secundaria 1 - The most important open-air cave paintings in Andalucía are in Malaga and they can be visited for free
Imagen secundaria 2 - The most important open-air cave paintings in Andalucía are in Malaga and they can be visited for free

Among the paintings, the most emblematic is undoubtedly one reminiscent of a centipede. There are also crosses that resemble birds. The painted representations of Peñas de Cabrera are characterised by their schematism, with a preponderance of anthropomorphic figures over the other forms, which lends the rock art stylistic uniformity. Only red, with different nuances is used, with shades ranging from orange to violet. The substance used to make the paints has been determined to be iron oxide dissolved in some liquid and the most widely used technique for applying the paint is with fingers.

According to the town hall in Casabermeja, the rock cave complex was discovered in 1976 by a shepherd, who brought its existence to the attention of a professor at the University of Malaga. Once the authenticity of the site was verified, the first scientific study was commissioned from Cecilio Barroso Ruíz and Francisca Medina Lara.

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