Cueva Santa María

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Archaeology and Paleontology

Archaeology and Paleontology


Orce and its hamlets are probably most famous for being the cradle of European mankind., the oldest human remains in Europe were found here. This hamlet is approximately 3km from Cueva Santa Maria; you can take a very pleasant walk from your holiday home to view this site. These remains are thought to date back some 2 million years. Orce, and it's hamlets, have been designated as a world heritage site, as a result of their prehistoric past.

The above find has opened the question on how long man has been in Europe. The first excavation was done in 1982 and the most significant and surprising feature of this site was the incredible amount of bones found there. This is attributed to the fact that it was possibly the location of a hyenas' lair. Over 2,500 fossil samples were found, pertaining to all kinds of animals on this site alone.

In 1992 (when a new electric network installation was being carried out in Fuente Nueva), a very large number of flint and dolomite limestone?s, (which are related to rhinoceros, hippopotamus, elephants and other mammals remains), were unearthed. This ancient archaeological site is only a very short walk from your holiday home. Many ancient stone utensils have been found and there are thought to be many human fossils still to be discovered. The animals where thought to have come to the old prehistoric lake to drink, from the pastoral plains, where they had been grazing.

Josep Gibert Museum -  Centro de Interpretación primeros pobladores de Europa

This museum was set up by a team of archaeological excavators. In 1987, the well-known paleontologist, Dr. Joseph Gibert Clols took over. Gibert dedicated over 30 years of his life to studying and excavating in the area. His key objective was to find out more accurately when mankind first arrived in Europe. The museum was moved to a new site in , 2015.

In and around Orce man made-made tools have been found that date back some 1.7 million years. Josep Gilbert wrote many books and papers on the subject, including his famous book "El hombre de Orce". Archaeological digs continue in the area.

Bronze Age Settlement

As well as traces of many ancient species, there are also archaeological remains. One of great interest, being 'el cerro de la virgen' (the hill of the virgin) which can be seen as you drive into the hamlet. Here you will find the remains of a Bronze Age Settlement, dating back to 2,500BC. Dozens of bell shaped glasses and other significant pieces were found by the German archaeologist, Guillermo Shule