Nerja Cave Ancient PaintingsThe analysis of organic remains taken together with some of the prehistoric paintings found in the Cueva de Nerja has determined that these artistic representations may be more than  40,000 years old, which would make them the oldest known so far in Europe.

The curator of the Nerja Caves, Antonio Garrido, reported the results of the dating, which was carried out as part of the research and conservation begun in 2008 to study, amongst other things, the extinction of Neanderthals and their possible coexistence in this cave with Homo Sapiens.

Garrido explained that the scientific team, led by Professor José Luis Sanchidrián, took samples of organic material found near the paintings located in the upper galleries of the cave and the so-called Hall of the Cataclysm, and forwarded them to the U.S. for dating, and in both cases the results indicated an age of above 40,000 years.

If it is confirmed that the antiquity of the paintings is the same as that of the remains tested, this would make them the oldest known so far on the European continent, a fact that would be of great interest from a scientific point of view.

The researchers are trying  to determine if the paintings are the work of homo sapiens or Neanderthals, whose presence in the Cueva de Nerja is demonstrated by skeletal remains and was one of the last strongholds for that species before extinction.

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