‘Treasure of humanity’: 14,000yo cave paintings found under Spanish town

‘Treasure of humanity’: 14,000yo cave paintings found under Spanish town

via “RT

Pictures released by Provincial Council of Biscay showing 14,000 year old cave engravings in the Basque village of Lekeitio. © Diputacion Foral de Bizkaia

Ancient wall engravings of animals dating back 14,000 years have been discovered by archaeologists in a cave below a seaside Spanish town.

The 50 images were found etched into rock at the Armintxe cave in Lekeitio in Spain’s Basque region and depict animals rarely seen in Paleolithic art, such as lions.

Experts working with the Provincial Council of Bizkaia made the the discovery of the ancient cave artwork, which was reportedly located beneath a building in the small coastal town and confirmed to the public on Thursday.

Archaeologists believe the drawings are identical to ones found in the Pyrenees, according to Basque news outlet Deia, which suggests the people who created them were in close contact.

Cave engravings (top) representing animals like horses, bisons, lions or goats, and a highlighted version, in the Armintxe cave in the Basque village of Lekeitio. © Diputacion Foral de Bizkaia

The artwork contains images of five goats, two bison, 18 horses and a pair of lions. A series of circles and lines also make up the ancient art find.

Local official Andoni Iturbe told AFP how they were found in an “extremely difficult” cave to access – a place which will remain closed to the public.

Biscay council colleague Unai Rementeria has described the etchings as a “treasure of humanity.”

Images from the site reveal how the artwork could easily have been be missed due to their faint outlines.


Getty Museum returns the Head of Hades to Italy

Sometime between 300-400B.C., an unknown artist in Morgantina, Italy carefully sculpted this terra-cotta replica of the famed god of the Underworld, the feared Hades.  The skull or head itself was carefully sculpted on its own, and later the curly hair and beard were individually added, one curl at a time, just before the final firing in the kiln. Afterwards, it was carefully painted, and some parts of the paint remain such as the red in his hair and the blue in his beard.  This beautiful artifact is an amazingly well-preserved momento of painstaking artistry.

The piece goes by both the name “Head of Hades” and “Bluebeard” and was illegally excavated from an Italian archaeological dig during the 1970s. Afterwards it was sold and ended up at the Getty Museum in the USA.  

According to the Getty Website, the work was initially believed to be a depiction of Hades’ brother, Zeus (known occasionally as Bluebeard).  However, examination of the nearby discovered artifacts and the knowledge that Morgantina worshipped Persephone (kidnapped wife of Hades), they now believe it is actually Hades instead.  The kidnapping of Persephone is thought to have occurred at a lake near the city.  

Long story short, because the work was illegally excavated, it technically still belongs to Italy and was stolen property, meaning the Getty had to repatriate the bust to its nation of origin.  Although the legal exchange happened a couple years ago, the official trade occurred recently when Italian officials arrived to take over possession.  

One of the interesting notes to me is the fact that the Getty has owned this work since 1985 according to their own website. It is unclear why this is only being repatriated now.  

Either way, the work is finally home as Hades returns to his royal lands, protecting the good and punishing the wicked as they pass into his deadly realm.


  1. Getty Website
  2. Yahoo! News

Clueless builders destroy 6,000-year-old Spanish tomb

Clueless builders destroy 6,000-year-old Spanish tomb 

by Tim MacFarlan via “Daily Mail

Clueless builders in a Spanish town accidentally destroyed a 6,000-year-old tomb they mistook for a broken picnic table and replaced it with a concrete bench. 

The embarrassing incident took place in the town of Cristovo de Cea in the region of Galacia in Spain’s north west and was described as a ‘monumental error’ by university professor. 

The ancient neolithic tomb had been designated a site of ‘cultural interest’ by the regional government of Galicia and was supposed to have been protected by Spain’s historical heritage law.

The stones mark the site of the ancient tomb in Cristovo de Cea, Galicia, in 2008 before they were removed and destroyed in an accidental act of cultural vandalism

But instead it was removed and the patch of ground on which it stood covered with a concrete slab so the ugly white bench could be installed.

The mistaken act of cultural vandalism was reported by local environmental group Grupo Ecolozista Outeiro, who wrote in a report, ‘The rolled concrete and modern picnic bench have caused irreparable damage, replacing what was a prehistoric cemetery of the first inhabitants of Cea.’

It was passed to Galicia’s public prosecutor which has opened a file on the case. It is also being investigated by the Galician Department of Culture, Education and Universities.

Juan A Barceló, a professor of prehistory at the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona, told The Local:  ‘I was horrified when I heard this news.   

‘It is a monumental error. In Spain, no-one is allowed to take the individual decision to rebuild an historical monument, specially when it is classified in the national register, as it was.’. . . .


“Terrified mother and child’s final moments preserved in ash after Pompeii volcano blast 1,900 years ago”

“Terrified mother and child’s final moments preserved in ash after Pompeii volcano blast 1,900 years ago”

by Kirstie McCrum via “The Mirror

A terrified mother and child’s final moments after the devastating Pompeii volcano have been unearthed for the first time in 1,900 years.

Restoration work on the bodies of those who died when the eruption of Mount Vesuvius engulfed Pompeii in Italy in AD79 have brought out some shocking finds like this scene.

One of the most catastrophic and damaging volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen, it claimed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killed unknown thousands of Romans.

SplashExcavations of Pompeii
History at work: A restorer works on petrified victim with arms reaching out in the laboratory of the Pompeii excavation site

The pieces are soon to be shown at a Pompeii and Europe Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy.

Molten rock rained down on the surrounding landscape at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second in an eruption thought to have released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima bombing.

In recent years, archaeologists used hollows in the volcanic ash where victims’ bodies fell and decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.

SplashExcavations of Pompeii
Curled up: A volcanologist said that the contorted poses were “a consequence of heat shock on corpses”

There has been much excavation work of the area, with more than 1,000 casts of bodies being made in Pompeii alone.

In 2010, studies showed that a surge reached temperatures of 300°C in Pompeii.

Volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo, who led the study said: “(It was) enough to kill hundreds of people in a fraction of a second”.

SplashExcavations of Pompeii
Looking back: After a long restoration, casts of forms of people who died 18 centuries ago will be revealed to the public

In reference as to why the bodies were frozen in suspended action, Giuseppe explained: “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”

The eruption was foreshadowed at the time by smaller earthquakes in the preceding days, but nothing was done by authorities.

A Roman poet Pliny the Younger, who was 17 at the time, recorded much of what happened during the eruption, but it is thought that a horrific cloud of ash, volcanic gas and stones spewed from the volcano to a height of around 21 miles. . . . .


Islamic Coins Discovered in Viking’s Shield Boss

“Islamic Coins Discovered in Viking’s Shield Boss”

via “

Last year, a metal detectorist discovered a sword from the Viking Age in a field in central Norway. Archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology excavated the site, and found a grave dating to about A.D. 950 that contained the remains of a Viking and his shield, in addition to the inscribed, high-quality sword. Hidden inside the shield boss they found a leather purse that contained several Islamic coins. Norwegian Vikings arrived in Spain in the 800s, where they may have come in contact with Islamic culture, or perhaps the coins were obtained through trade. “We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well-traveled man,” archaeologist Ingrid Ystgaard told NRK, as reported by ThorNews. The shield boss also bears combat scars. “The shield boss has a clear cut mark by an ax or a sword. If he died in combat, we do not know,” added Ystgaard. To read about the earliest Norse raids, see “The First Vikings.”