Anthony Martin | Alicante (EFE) in which three archaeologists linked to the University of Alicante (UA) have participated.
It is one of the first discoveries of prehistoric cave paintings thanks to the use of one of these small unmanned aerial vehicles in almost inaccessible mountain shelters and which could only be directly inspected after several days of preparation and with the opening of complex climbing routes. .
In this case, work has been carried out in the area of the Castellet-Barranc del Salt ravine and Port de Penáguila, where the drone has photographed and recorded videos of the walls of cavities in 18 shallow shelters and has facilitated the discovery of paintings in two of them, whose first results have just been published in one of the best archeology journals in the Iberian Peninsula, in number XLII of ‘Lvcentvm’.
Among the new cavities discovered with the drone, the one located in El Salt stands out for the large number of painted figures belonging to the Levantine style with superimpositions, specifically female anthropomorphs and archers, as well as deer and goats, some wounded with arrows.
In addition, there are other representations in a schematic style that are more difficult to interpret but equally important, since their detailed study will contribute to understanding how the rock art in the area has evolved.
Relevant rock paintings
“The result of using the drone has been the discovery of a new site with prehistoric cave paintings of different styles, which we believe will be very relevant for the investigation,” Molina Hernández, one of the archaeologists and drone pilot, explained to EFE. He has worked with Ximo Martorell Briz and Virginia Barciela González.
The results have been achieved in a short space of time in a geographical area well known for hosting numerous sets of prehistoric art, as was already published in the 1980s by the emeritus professor of Prehistory at the UA Mauro Hernández, and Pere Ferrer y Enric Català, from the Center d’Estudis Contestans.
The discovery has been notified to the General Directorate of Culture and Heritage of the Generalitat Valenciana, and its authenticity and relevance have been certified upon accessing the cavity thanks to the collaboration of climbers Alex Mora i Monllor and Natxo Gómez Ors.
In the opinion of archaeologists, it is one of the most relevant Neolithic rock art sites documented in the Valencian Community in recent decades and may be “the beginning of many other discoveries that will occur in the coming years in shelters that they had gone unnoticed because they were located in areas with very difficult access”.
The scientists have opted to create a methodological framework that allows the use of drones to be incorporated into archaeological prospecting for the location of sites from different historical periods that are difficult to access, and they propose to take advantage of the experience of their project for future searches.