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A guide elaborated by researchers of the UMU allows to know and visit the cave paintings of the Cieza caves (04/12/2018)

Researchers from the University of Murcia in the area of ​​Prehistory have completed a project to enhance and disseminate the Paleolithic and postpaleolithic paintings located in the vicinity of the Almadenes Canyon, in Cieza, and which are part of the Rock Art of the Mediterranean Arch of the Iberian Peninsula, considered World Heritage of Unesco for twenty years.

The results of this work have been presented on Tuesday in the Government Delegation and have been explained by Joaquín Lomba, professor at the University of Murcia and principal investigator of the project.

For three years, and thanks to funding from the Ministry of Culture and funds from the City of Cieza, the research group has made an intense work that has allowed to produce a monograph of four hundred pages that collects all the wealth of rock art located in the Almadenes Canyon and in which there are traces of the 243 figures that can be found in the 22 caves and shelters explored by the archaeologists, "25% of which were not known until the completion of this project," said Lomba .

In addition, a hiking guide has been developed with the intention that all people who want to visit the environment can do so by appreciating what they can see and also helping to maintain it.

In fact, this guide includes advice on how to visit the caves with pets or how to visit the paintings accompanied by children.

In this guide, which includes five hiking routes, the visitable places are marked and it is explained what is and how to find it.

Both the guide for hikers and the monograph are available to the City of Cieza for distribution and its edition is being prepared in digital format.

This part of the project dedicated to the dissemination is completed with the elaboration of some didactic notebooks with ten chapters and 40 cards to explain and disseminate the cave art of Cieza and which will be available through the internet.

All the research, cataloging and dissemination work is completed with the signage of the caves and shelters with paleolithic and postpaleolithic paintings.

The main work in this sense was the placement of two giant steel figures of five meters next to the highway Madrid-Cartagena, one in home sense.

These are two figures, one male and one female, inspired by paintings found in Los Grajos and La Serreta.

Joaquín Lomba has reported that the researchers decided that in these figures one should be female representation, since "the gender perspective should be clear in the study of prehistory because the figures of the archer or hunter are always reflected when we talk about this time".

However, the researcher pointed out that those who inhabited these caves were farmers "and in this activity it was the women who had the most prominence, and we believed that it should be reflected".

The same figures, but smaller, were placed in a round at the entrance of Cieza.

In addition, it has been signaled with signage how to get to each of the caves and shelters to attract visitors to know the heritage.

The funding to get all these actions started from the competition published by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for aid to conservation projects, protection and dissemination of goods declared World Heritage, in which the project presented by the City of Cieza obtained the third largest economic allocation of those granted with 28,500 euros, which were subsequently added the 9,500 of the City.

The Area of ​​Prehistory of the University of Murcia has led the project from the beginning.

This intervention was very marked from the beginning by the consequences of the fire that in August 2015 affected the Almadenes Canyon and that, despite the initial fears, did not damage the paintings.

After this event a step was taken for the enhancement of the heritage that still continues with the performances in the Cueva del Arco, oriented in the future to the enclosure and protection of the paintings found there.

Joaquín Lomba, on behalf of all the researchers who have collaborated in the project, thanked the participating administrations for the funding and support during these three years.

And especially, "to the neighbors of Cieza, who have transmitted their support and affection for what we were doing."

Pascual Lucas, Mayor of Cieza, thanked the work done by the Area of ​​Prehistory of the UMU and explained that everything arose after the determination "that the fire that August 8, 2015 was burned with the Cañón de Almadenes was the impulse to reverse the situation and carry out a large research project, dissemination and enhancement of our heritage, which fire made us love so much ".

Diego Conesa, delegate of the Government, has highlighted the fact that this project has been carried out thanks to the financing between the Ministry, and the City Council, with the participation of the University of Murcia and the support of the General Directorate of Cultural Assets of the community.

Conesa stressed that the presentation of the results coincides with the twentieth anniversary since Unesco declared world heritage the Rock Art of the Mediterranean Arc, a heritage that gives value to the municipality of Cieza, he said, and that contribute to enrich the entire Region .

Sonia Madrid, Vice Chancellor of Studies at the University of Murcia, meanwhile, has highlighted the important role that the University has, not only to investigate, but to make it visible, "because research does not make sense if they are not shared the results and this work has revealed a treasure that can now reach society. "

Source: Universidad de Murcia

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