The church of Santa Elena, near Biescas, has since last Monday a new attraction, a newly discovered Neolithic dolmen, located just 50 meters from the existing one. Both date from about 5,000 years ago. Until Monday only one was known, and the other, although there was evidence that it had existed, had been given up for lost.
The newly discovered dolmen
The discovery of the dolmen has a long history, and although on Monday morning, when the digger began to remove the pile of rubble that existed on the megalithic monument, there was some scepticism that they would find it, that turned to joy as they uncovered the dolmen. The last reference to the dolmen was 85 years ago so you can imagine the delight when it was rediscovered.
The dolmen in the snow
In 1933, in the Santa Elena area, two dolmens were found, excavated by Joaquín Almagro and Dr. Herráinz, a doctor from Biescas. But, after the Spanish civil war (1936-39) they were lost. In 1975 the City Council of Biescas reconstructed one (the top stone had been removed), the one that was known until now – you’ll visit it in your first day on our Village to Village holiday.
Had great lunch up at Santa Elena earlier this week with our friends Eva and Oscar. There’s a stone refugio behind the church with an open fireplace to barbeque on. Gorged oursleves on chops, pancetta and longaniza.
Santa Elena is fascinating. It’s built at the site of a cave that was a pre-christian worship site. A spring comes out of the cave which is considered miraculous as it has sudden surges and starts and stops regularly.
We were looking at the waterfall under the church when suddenly one of these surges happened. The flow increased really quickly and flooded the steps, fountain and the meadow. It wasincredible to see – I’ve never seen it happen before.It stayed like this for about an hour and then went back to it’s previous calm state.
The water increased from this trickle....
.... to this torrent in under a minute
The peak of Pelopin can be reached from the Cotefablo pass which is half way between Biescas and Torla. The pass is over 1400m so it makes a great place to quickly get up into the mountains from.
Friday afternoon I was suffering from cabin fever after a week of bad weather so I called Rafa and we headed up to Pelopin – the clouds were low and it was windy but it was good to get out and blow the cobwebs away.
Rafa crossing a small patch of snow
The neolithic dolmen at Santa Elena
The other day I took a walk from Biescas up to Santa Elena and was pleased to see that they’ve put up some boards with information about the dolmen. The upper Gallego has one of the greatest concentration of megaliths in the Pyrenees. The dolmen at Santa Elena is a simple but large dolmen that was destroyed during the civil war and reconstructed using the original stones in 1975. Continue reading