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New archaeological discoveries in Coa show moving figures

A team of archaeologists made new discoveries of rock engravings representative of the Art of Coa, with figures depicting wild cattle and horses in motion, one of the investigators involved in the archaeological excavations.

These new discoveries will change the view of the archaeological site of Penascosa, since there is a certain movement in the figures. This new rock engraved in the shale will show that this place is much more complex from the archaeological point of view than what was thought “Archaeologist Thierry Aubry, one of the professionals involved in the investigation.

According to the archaeologists of the Côa Park Foundation (FCP) there is a long chronological sequence in the archaeological site of Penascosa that goes from 30 thousand to 15 thousand years.

The figures represented are auroques [or Uruz, a primitive, wild species of bovine] and horses in motion, which are engraved on shale rock and represent one of the most important [discoveries] of Côa Art,” he said.

These new discoveries were made known today to the participants at the ‘Côa Symposium’, which brings together world specialists in rock art, which ends today in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, in the district of Guarda.

Thierry Henry explains that it is possible to see two auroques with an upturned head who, at first glance, seem to be telling a story, maintaining a dialogue.

This rock is almost a comic strip with movement because it seems that the figures [auroques and horses] tell us a story since there is a representation of several scenes. This, for the art of the Palaeolithic, is very important“, stressed the archaeologist.

The archaeologists of the FCP intend to dismantle with this work, that every time there are new archaeological surveys in the Côa Valley, there will be surprises.

These discoveries reveal not only the richness of the rock art of one of the most visited sites of the Côa Valley but also confirms the importance of continuing archaeological work, even in places considered to be well studied or known.

These new engravings were discovered a few meters from “rock 37“, which has engraved a “goat” on it, and which mobilized a new interest on the part of the archaeologists on the archaeological site of the Penascosa, located a few meters of the Côa river.

All these new discoveries were covered by the sediments of the floods of the Coa River, which hid these works of rock art,” say the archaeologists involved in the excavations.

These new findings show, in the experts’ opinion, “the diversity of a more classic site“, the archaeological park, “where there are engravings with about 30 thousand years” of antiquity.

For his part, the president of the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists, José Arnaut, defended that, after a certain “paralysis”, in the recent past, in the investigation of the Art of Côa, we are now on the right track, with the Côa Park Foundation.

There is a resumption of the multidisciplinary investigation in the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley, and the discoveries made in the last two years are revealing that Côa Art is much wider and older than what was initially thought,” he emphasized.

After 20 years on the classification of ‘Art of the Côa’ as a World Heritage site, surveys in the Penascosa Site, within the framework of the “PaleoCôa” project, have put new findings in the eye, which still require interpretation and reading by art experts rock

The rock art of the Côa, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1998, was one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the Upper Palaeolithic in the late twentieth century throughout Europe, according to archaeologists.

During the discovery of the ‘Art of the Côa’, Portuguese archaeologists claimed to be manifestations of the Upper Paleolithic (from 25,000 to 30,000 years ago) and to be ‘one of the most fabulous archaeological finds in the world’.

Since August 1996, the Côa Valley Archaeological Park organizes visits to several nuclei of engravings, such as Penascosa, Canada do Inferno and Ribeira de Piscos.

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