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Escoural Cave, Montemor-o-Novo

#6 of 7 in Nature in Alentejo
Cave Historic Site
The Prehistoric Rock-Art Site of Escoural Cave is a structure known for its Paleolithic-era rock-art and funerary burial site, located in the Portuguese municipality of Montemor-o-Novo, in the civil parish of Santiago do Escoural.HistoryThe earliest vestiges of human occupation date back to 50,000 years B.C. (pertaining to the middle Paleolithic), associated with the interior of the cave. The first occupants of the cave came from groups of Neanderthal hunter-gatherers, who used the cave as a temporary shelter in order to hunt. Based on bone evidence within the cave, these groups hunted nearby aurochs, deer, and horse. Elements of rock art also pertain to the Upper Paleolithic (40,000 to 10,000 years B.C.) or final parts of the Neolithic period, when the interior was used as a funerary site, while a small settlement inhabited the area in the exterior. During the Chalcolithic period, a human settlement existed within the cave, developing into a fortified site by the end of Copper Age.A series of archaeological investigations began in 1963, under Manuel Farinha dos Santos, which continued in 1980, while a team of international investigators performed soundings in 1989. In 1999 it was included in the Programa de Valorização e Divulgação Turística: Itinerários Arqueológicos do Alentejo e Algarve, under the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, and Secretary-of-State of Culture in order to monetize the sight as a tourist pole. As a result, an interpretive centre was constructed from a local traditional building, then expanded, reopened in 2011 after new public works.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
37 reviews
  • I am Portuguese and I feel very proud when I visit a place in Portugal where History is preserved. I was in Montemor for a couple of days and I saw "Gruta do Escoural" advertisement and, immediatly, I...  more »
  • This small cave has four examples of prehistoric art; two paintings and two engraved into the rock. It is amazing to be able to get up close to actual art from this era (as opposed to replicas). We bo...  more »
  • The cave can only be visited with a guide; tours can be booked at the Centro de Interpretacao do Escoural, Rua Dr. Magalhaes de Lima, no. 48, 7050-556 Santiago do Escoural. Here you will also find bac...  more »
  • Worth a visit at one of the oldest cave in the Iberian peninsula, but hard to find
  • Book before the visit! It is a very significant place is terms of archeological significance and deserves a visit if you are in the region.
  • You will have to book it by phone minimum a day before. There is no one there, if you don't book
  • A place with access restricted, but can be visited by appointment prior and concerted. It is worth approaching the area to see the paintings and engravings.
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  • Very cute by indifference. Is small, but worth visiting.
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