Discovered by chance in 1869 by Marcelino de Santuola
, the Caves of Altamira are located near Santillana del Mar in the Santander region of Northern Spain
, and house some of the the finest examples of Palaeolithic
art in the world.
The paintings are thought to have been made by the Magdalenian people between 16,000-9,000 BC, using only three shades of colour: ochre, red and black to create a whole host of large paintings of bison, red deer, boar and horses covering the walls and ceiling of this 18 metre by 9 metre limestone cave. The use of separate colours is a significant technical advance when compared to most other cave paintings. This increased skill is further reflected in the accuracy of the physical proportions of the subjects, and the use of different facets of rock to give some sort of textural feeling to the them, rather than painting a flat design as many other races did when depicting animals in their rock art.
Due to the extreme delicacy of these paintings the Caves are now closed to the public in an attempt to preserve them, but the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid has created an exact replica in an attempt to allow others to enjoy these magnificent works of art