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Escoural Cave

Herdade da Sala - Montemor-o-Novo

Information

Escoural Cave is the highlight of the Escoural Archaeological Site, situated in the Herdade da Sala, in the lovely small village of Santiago do Escoural, in the vast Alentejo region.
This is the only known cave-dwelling in Portugal to have wall paintings and engravings from the Upper Paleolithic period.

The excavation work revealed that it had been occupied from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic until the Final Neolithic. The exceptionally rare art dates from two phases: circa 25,000 BC and 13,000 BC.
In fact the Cave was probably used by Neanderthal hunters as a shelter, during the Middle Paleolithic.
During the Upper Paleolithic (35 000 to 8 000 b.C.) the adjacent upper area was used as a Shrine, where the decorative vestiges of Pre-Historical Art can be seen.
During the Neolithic Period (5 000 to 3 000 b.C.) this area was transformed into a necropolis of the farmers and shepherds communities of the region, using parts of the cave and surroundings that had paintings and engravings, forming a kind of open air rupestrian shrine.

The cave was discovered in 1963 during work at a quarry and since that year is classified as a National Monument.

This area contains many important megalithic monuments, presenting some of the most important pre-historical heritage in the Country.

The upgrading work includes building a small Reception and Study Centre near the Escoural cave and a Museum Nucleus in Santiago do Escoural.

Telefone +351-266 857 200
Fax +351-266 769 855 (DRE)
dre.ippar@ippar.pt

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