Abrigo de Chimiachas

Cave paintings at Alquezar

Cave paintings dating back to 3000-8000 BC and fossilised animal footprints from 33 million years ago made a this hike at Alquezar feel like a trip through time. The Sierra de Guara in the Pre-Pyrenees has loads of history as well as some great hiking, climbing and canyoning.

Vero Canyon

Views into the Vero Canyon

The day started with a stop at Abiego to see the fossilised footprints. There’s a stretch of rock about 40 metres wide and a couple of metres high criss-crossed by footprints. It’s amazing to contemplate their age and how we can still see them today.

Fossilised footprints at Abiego

Fossilised footprints at Abiego

Next we headed into Alquezar for a quick look around. It’s a beautiful village. It’s winding streets and arches are overlooked by the church of Santa Maria which used was originally a moorish castle dating back to the 9th century. Most of the existing church and the village is 16th century.

The hike we did was up to two caves which have neolithic paintings. Noce hike with great views down into the Rio Vero but the weather wasn’t the best with cold drizzle for a while – makes a change after all the good weather we’ve been having recently.

We visited two caves both set in fantastic spots. The first was Abrigo de Quizans. It’s a small deer or fox in the schematic style dating back to around 5000 BC. I have to say it was pretty faded and to start off with neither of us could see anything!

Abrigo de Quizans

Abrigo de Quizans

The second cave at Abrigo de Chimiachas was much more impressive with a large deer adorned with many pointed antlers. The descent down into the gulley was quite steep and slippery in the wet – we were surprised. Great little spot deep in the gorge with the cliffs above. This painting is in the Levantine style and dates back to 3000-8000 BC which is incredible.

Abrigo de Chimiachas

Abrigo de Chimiachas

On the way back we kept our eyes out for fossils and found loads of small fossils. I took this picture of some when I got home and only up close where the circular lines. I think these are nummulites which are ancient single cell organisms – not certain though so if anyone could confirm that would be great.

nummulite fossil

Nummulite fossilIt’s a really interesting area with loads to discover

The Sierra de Guara is a really interesting area withloads to discover – really enjoying doing some hiking down there at the moment.

One thought on “Cave paintings at Alquezar”

  1. Thanks to Graham (a Hike Pyrenees guest and regular reader of the blog) who sent me this information about the fossils that I saw confirming that they’re nummulites:

    Nummulites are large fossil protozoan of the Tertiary period and can be found in the South Central region of the Pyrennes. This photo is from this area and looks very similar to your photo Phil. I believe the Sierra de Guara is in the South Central Pyrenees and the southernmost area comprises Tertiary sedimentary rocks of Eocene to Oligocene age, consistent with where nummulites are found.
    It’s a long time since I studied geology at Uni Phil but I think nummulities are a good bet for what you have found. Often they resemble the more familiar circular ammonite shape but can also be more angular and shell like in shape and appearance.

    Thanks for the info Graham – much appreciated. Hope to see you back inthe Pyrenees next summer – our Riglos & Alquezar holiday would be perfect for you,

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