About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

Serious vandalism at prehistoric painting caves


News from various sources say that twenty-six caves containing prehistoric paintings have been damaged over the past year either by the weather or by people. The list includes the Laja Alta paintings in Jimena (photo).>Lothar Bergmann, President of Honour of the Asociación Gaditana para el Estudio y la Defensa del Patrimonio Arqueológico, announced yesterday that his Society had detected new graphitti at the Barranca del Arca caves in Tarifa. This is not the first time such things have happened there.
Bergmann has created a list of such damaged caves in the province of Cádiz, which is home to a total of 32, of which 26 are in the Campo de Gibraltar.
Damage, says Bergmann, occurs through weather erosion and animals but mainly through the action of humans, who leave their imprint either with graphitti or scratching the surface of the paintings themselves.
The cave at Barranco del Arca, one of nine within the municipality of Tarifa, has suffered irreparable damage since last autumn and paintings on the lower part have disappeared altogether. Other caves in Tarifa include Los Alemanes, Atlanterra, Carbonera, La Jara, Mesa del Helechoso, El Moro, Las Palomas and Torre de la Peña. All of them have been damaged in some way, though the one at El Moro hasn’t done so since 1999 when a protective grille was installed. The one at Atlanterra had a clean-up in 2005, and a barrier was set up then, as well, though this has not been enough to stop vandalism.
Los Barrios also has nine caves, at Bacinete and Bailadoras. Most of them have been vandalised, one of them to the extent of having an entire panel removed.
Jimena has four such caves, the principal one being at Laja Alta (photo), where the Council intends to create an Interpretation Centre. This one, too, has been vandalised with irreparable damage to the paintings as the result of being shot at.
Other vandalised caves are at Castellar, where the Cueva de los Maquis shows scratchings affecting the paintings. The one in San Roque has also been shot at, and the one in La Línea is damaged as well.
Lothar Bergmann has been battling with the authorities to seek protection for these priceless places, and has always reproached their inactioon.
(See related items here)


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