The cleaning and documentation work carried out these days by an IPHES-CERCA team, led by Josep Maria Vergès and Míriam Salas, revealed more than 250 post-Paleolithic engravings in the place known as Roca de les Ferraduras, in the historic center of The Cogullons (Montblanc), located in one of the areas with the highest concentration of shelters with rock art in Muntanyes de Prades.
The set is located in the open air, on a sandy rocky surface of hundreds of meters, which makes this place, both for its extension and for its number and variety of representations, one of the the most important of Catalonia on post-Paleolithic rock carvings.
Archaeological work shows that the site is larger than previously thought. / IPHES-CLOSE
This set of prints was discovered in the late 1970s by Ramón Capdevilaarcheology enthusiast and former collaborator of Salvador Vilaseca, but, apart from the publication of some photographs and comments, it had never been the object of study, nor had it been given great importance.
The work carried out by an archaeological team allowed the discovery of many more prints than were knownsome of them in an extraordinary state of conservation, and show that they are not concentrated alone in the Roca de les Ferradures, but spread over hundreds of meters of terrain.
A sacred space possible
The engravings are made on the ground, made with the pecking technique, on the surface of an extensive red sandstone rock formation. In some cases, once the pecking process was completed, the inside of the furrow was polished to eliminate the marks of the blows and make it more regular.
Among the engravings found is a wide variety of shapes and motifs, some of them forming scenes. The most represented are the so-called horseshoes, which give the site its name, and the crosses, which are actually thought to be very simplified representations of anthropomorphs.
3D scanning of engravings. / IPHES-CLOSE
But the most singular representations are those of the anthropomorphs with their arms crossed and big open handsvery disproportionate in relation to the body, which stand out as dominant characters among the others, both for their dimensions — some reach more than half a meter in height — and for the details of the figures.
The hypothesis about the chronology of the engravings is that the first ones could have been made at the end of the Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age, just over 4,000 years ago, but which also took place during iron Age and possibly at a later time. This implies that, if, as is thought, these engravings are related to some kind of cult or ceremony, they would have been kept for over a thousand years.
Indeed, the excavations carried out in the Cova del Minaire and the re-study of the materials recovered by Salvador Vilaseca in the Cova de les Grallesboth located near the Cogullons, allowed to document evidence of intense settlement in this place between 4,300 and 4,000 years ago, during the Chalcolithic, as well as human presence during the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Roman period.
The engravings were documented using 3D scanning and photogrammetry, in order to obtain high resolution 3D models, both in terms of mesh and texture. These will allow a detailed study and dissemination at a virtual level, while constituting a first-rate tool to guarantee its conservation and preservation.