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Thousands-year-old human remains found in prehistoric Pyrenees tomb

Archaeologists find 1,200 artefacts of around 50 individuals in one of the most important and remarkably preserved ancient graves

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30 July 2021 04:47 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Archaeologists have unearthed the thousands-year-old remains of around 50 human beings in the Roc de les Orenetes’ cave in the Pyrenees.

In total, around 1,200 artefacts were discovered in a prehistoric tomb. 

Flint arrowheads and pottery remains that were used as part of funerals were also found on the site.  

Archaeologists confirmed that the burial site was used for around a thousand years, from the end of the Copper Age (4,300 years ago) to the middle of the Bronze Age (3,400 years ago). 

One of the main problems they had was that the bones of the prehistoric humans were mixed. Therefore, they had to isolate them one by one with their exact location in order to identify the individuals. 

Workers at the site said it is an “exceptional” area and probably the most important “prehistoric grave” of the Pyrenees in terms of preservation, the number of individuals exhumed, and location. 

Evidence shows that the tomb had a relevant political and social function because it was used by so many generations. 

The cave, located at an altitude of more than 1,800 metres, is not easily accessible and measures around 30 m2. 

Archeologist Eduald Carboell discovered the remains in Roc de les Orenetes 50 years ago and the authorities decided to close the cave in order to guarantee its preservation. 

Two years ago it was reopened to start the ongoing archeological works and since then, they have explored the remains of 9 m2. 

These excavations are part of the Arrels project, which aims to discover the Vall del Freser’s prehistoric past.

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  • An archaeologist displays some of the prehistoric human remains discovered in the Catalan Pyrenees (by Lourdes Casademont)

  • An archaeologist displays some of the prehistoric human remains discovered in the Catalan Pyrenees (by Lourdes Casademont)

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