José Monteiro is a shepherd, knows no one about the Penascosa site in the Côa Valley that has been going for more than 35 years, and is sure to say that the recent archaeological find is a goat in the shale stone.
“For me, what is recorded there is a goat, but only with good light can it be seen better and ever as the sun goes down.” I believe there may be more engraving under the earth because the level of the ground was growing because of the floods of the river Côa, “the pastor told.
The shepherd who has been guiding his flocks on these lands for almost four decades has always been saying that he has been familiar with the pictures of the Côa since he was a child and that he has heard many stories associated with them.
“For me, the engravings are all the same, what is certain is that, over these years, no one was seen, and now many people come from all sides to see these engravings,” observed José Monteiro.
Visitors from all over the world visit Penascosa daily to see the Côa Valley rock engravings, the “Art of the Côa”, and this new discovery is leaving many people “enchanted”, despite the route between Castelo Melhor and the archaeological site is made only with the use of all-terrain vehicles.
If for the pastor José Monteiro is another engraving, for the scientific community, in turn, this is a real find, since the classification of the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley as a World Heritage Site.
The so-called “rock 37” of the archaeological site of Penascosa, near Castelo Melhor, in the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, continues to be object of study by the researchers of the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley (PAVC) and , at the same time, arouses the curiosity of those who pass by.
“In the space of a week, a lot of work has been done after this discovery. We have to dig harder to realize what lies ahead,” Archaeologist Thierry Aubry told.
This rock is located just 50 meters from one of the banks of the Côa River, nestled in the vicinity of rocks that were recorded in a chronological period ranging from 25,000 to 30,000 years, which makes even more intriguing archaeologists in the ground.
The engravings that can be observed, in the majority, in the Valley of the Côa, are essential of animals of diverse species.
However, although the finding has not yet been completely scientifically deciphered, the archaeologists have shown the contours of the perforation of the figure and everything indicates that it is a copy of a goat that was engraved there in a period between 15 thousand and 18 thousand years.
For the archaeologist, the natural conditions throughout the Côa Valley have helped set up several hunter-gatherer communities over thousands of years, and this discovery goes beyond what we imagined.
Last week, a new rock with rock engravings was discovered in the Penascosa site at the PAVC.
According to experts, the motifs of this new rock feature a style that is more characteristic of more recent phases of the Upper Paleolithic, with an age around 15 thousand to 18 thousand years, than most of the rocks of the site, with 25 thousand to 28 thousand years.
“For about 20 years, there have been no surveys on the site at Penascosa, which is one of the most emblematic of the Côa Valley,” said the researcher at the Côa Parque Foundation.
The PACV has an extension of 20 thousand hectares throughout its territory and more than half a thousand rocks identified in the Paleolithic period, from 25 thousand to 30 thousand years.
According to experts, there is the largest open-air Paleolithic museum in the world, which is 1998 was awarded the UNESCO World, Heritage List.