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Locals find scores of medieval rock engravings in Catalan Pyrenees

Hundreds of exposed carvings discovered in remote Àssua Valley depict scenes of armed knights and animals

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08 January 2019 08:24 PM

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ACN | Barcelona
Locals in the Àssua Valley in the Catalan Pyrenees have by chance found dozens of rock engravings that are thought to date back to between the 11th and 14th centuries.

The engravings, which depict such scenes as armed knights on horseback, were described as "very important" by the High Mountain Archeology Group from the UAB university.

Member of the group Ermengol Gassiot, called the high quality of the engravings "surprising," as is the number of engravings, which runs into the hundreds.

Gassiot said he could not think of a similar find in the Pyrenees, and he pointed out that it was unusual to find some many depictions of armed warriors in such a remote rural area.

The engravings are on an exposed rock surface that runs for almost a kilometer, at an altitude of between 1,390 and 1,710 meters. Certain features suggest a path may have once run alongside.

Depictions of humans and animals

The fine, narrow incisions of the engravings are at varying depths, with some images overlapping, and with many of them featuring figures of humans, many armed, and animals, most likely wolves, foxes and birds.

While many of the engravings are isolated examples, some parts of the rock wall show complex battle scenes, usually with the armed knights and soldiers all looking in the same direction, towards the valley.

Gassiot says the condition of the engravings is in general "very good," despite the incisions being very faint in some cases and many of them showing signs of wear and tear. To learn more, the engravings will now require careful examination, says Gassiot.

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  • A person shows one of the engravings on January 3 2018 (by Marta Lluvich)

  • A person shows one of the engravings on January 3 2018 (by Marta Lluvich)