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Spanish rock art depicting honey gathering during the Mesolithic


THE end of the Upper Palaeolithic and the subsequent Mesolithic of western Europe coincided with a general change of climate, flora and fauna. Throughout this time the nomadic hunters and food gatherers continued their former activities and perfected their techniques in a changing environment, before the introduction of agriculture and the change to a sedentary way of life. In Spain, this period is associated with a type of rock art known as ‘art of the Spanish Levant’, because it occurs only within a limited area of the mountainous coast of eastern Spain; it is provisionally dated approximately from 8,000 to 2,000 BC. Its outstanding features are the appearance of motion and the fact that the central figures are mainly human, around which animal figures are grouped. We report here a scene we discovered last year at one of the most important Levantine rock-art zones, the Barranco de la Valltorta (Castellon), which is a dried out, deep and eroded river bed. It shows wild honey gathering activities and depicts the first definite ladder constructed of side ropes, with visibly rigid intersecting rungs, which are straight and even, and which must be sticks prepared for this purpose.

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DAMS, M., DAMS, L. Spanish rock art depicting honey gathering during the Mesolithic. Nature 268, 228–230 (1977).

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