Groundbreaking discovery with drones in Alicante and Valencia provinces

by Lorraine Williamson
ancient rock art filmed by drones

VALENCIA REGION – In a first for archaeology, drones have been successfully deployed in the search for ancient rock art, leading a team from the University of Alicante to the discovery of 7,000-year-old petroglyphs in the mountains around Alicante and Valencia. 

Previously, the research team would have had to traverse the rugged terrain on foot. Geo-archaeologist Javier Fernandez Molina, also a certified drone pilot, proposed the innovative idea of affixing cameras to drones to swiftly and efficiently survey challenging cave locations. In their maiden drone-assisted exploration, the researchers entered 18 caves, two of which housed prehistoric rock art dating back 7,000 years. 

“Drones Enable Access to Inaccessible Regions” 

“Thanks to the use of drones, we can quickly photograph walls, and this has helped us find many prehistoric rock drawings in inaccessible parts of the Alicante mountains,” Molina told Artnet News. Furthermore, he suggested that our earliest ancestors likely used scaffolding to reach some of these caves. 

In the first cave, situated in a ravine known as Castellet-Barranc del Salt, the team found depictions of archers, deer, and goats, some pierced by an arrow. The second cave housed similar drawings, albeit in a poorer state of preservation. 

Groundbreaking Find 

According to the researchers, this groundbreaking discovery represents a step forward in understanding the evolution of cave drawings in the region, which has been explored by archaeologists since the 1980s. 

Promising Research Ahead 

This pioneering use of drones in the search for rock art is just the beginning. The team hopes to use their findings, published in the scientific journal Lucentum, to secure a permit for a more extensive study of the area. 

Cogesa Expats

“This is just the beginning,” fellow researcher Virginia Gonzalez told Artnet News. “Once we have the permits, we will begin documentation work in the first cave. The goal is to expand our research into other inaccessible areas nearby.” 

Related post: Cave in Málaga has oldest Neanderthal rock drawings in the world 

Prehistory in Spain 

Spain is rich in prehistoric rock drawings found at many locations across the country. These petroglyphs, a key part of the nation’s cultural heritage, offer a unique insight into the lives of our distant ancestors. One of the most famous collections of rock drawings is in the Altamira caves, located in Cantabria, northern Spain. 

Related post: A brief history of Spain – The prehistory and Antiquity 

In Andalucia, the Nerja caves are renowned for their stunning stalactites and stalagmites, as well as their prehistoric rock art. 

Furthermore, the Valencia region is home to Levantine rock art, which is around 8,000 years old. These artworks, depicting mainly human figures and animals, are particularly remarkable for their detail and use of colour, providing invaluable insights into the way people lived and hunted at the time. 

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