From 1913 through the present day, the superimposed caves of Isturitz, Oxocelhaya and Erberua have been inexhaustible sources of knowledge about humans from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens as long ago as 80,000 years.
Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, the three caves have attracted experts from diverse backgrounds interested in the Upper Palaeolithic (between approximately 45,000 and 10,000 years ago) layers.
Through their various specialisations, archaeologists have helped to paint a portrait of:
– Daily life during that 30,000-year period : hunting site, gathering place, prehistoric socialisation, prehistoric economics and much more.
– Mobile art: 3,000 sculptures, etchings, decorated antler and bone tools and an impressive series of ornamental objects (pierced teeth; stone beads of talc, amber, lignite, etc.; and beads made of bone, ivory and shell amongst other items).
– Parietal art: Isturitz features a bas-relief pillar and deep etchings depicting cervids, wolverines and other subjects, whilst the cave walls in Oxocelhaya boast etched bison and horses.
A visit to the caves and museum at the site highlights all of these various elements and showcases the immense wealth and long existence of humanity… Even today, numerous researchers are busy at the caves including archaeologists and geologists as well as visual artists, acoustics specialists and musicians seeking inspiration for their contemporary research and creation.
The CAVES : informations and Prices
Joëlle Darricau : Tourism Conception
> The Conference « THE DIVERSITY OF THE CULTURES OF THE ISTURITZ CAVE DURING THE UPPER PALEOLITHIC » (PDF)
> The decorated caves of Gaztelu hill – Diego Garate (PDF)
> Summary of recent discoveries of parietal and mobile art at Isturitz cave (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): 1996/2009 – Aude Labarge (PDF)