Serinya Prehistoric Cave Park

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site
42.16, 2.74
Date range max:
215,000 Bp
Date range min:
11,000 Bp
The Arbreda Cave

The Arbreda Cave

The caves of Seriñá (in Catalan coves de Serinyà) is an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, located in Seriñá, in the Girona region of Pla de l'Estany (Spain). It was discovered at the end of the 19th century and was considered a place for seasonal human settlements and burials.

The Spanish pharmacist and prehistorian Pere Alsius i Torrent was the one who started the excavations. The main caves that belong to the site are: Reclau Viver cave, l'Arbreda cave, Pau cave and Mollet cave. All of them are part of the current Prehistoric Cave Park of Seriñá.


Excavation Methodology

The site of the Arbreda is an ideal site for exemplifying the method of archaeological excavation in a coat. We can see that the area chosen to excavate is quadriculated. In our case, the grid is formed from parallel wires separated by one meter. From the vertices of each theoretical panel hangs a plume, and this way the grid is projected at all times on the excavation surface.

The existence of a grid allows us to place objects in space. Each square is given a name, from combining a letter and a number. So we have the columns with a letter B, C, D... And we have the rank with numbers 1, 2, 3... That gives us the name of the square formed by the column and the row, for example A3, B5, C6... In this way, each object can be placed in its square and with its depth.

It is essential to know the origin of each of the objects so that it can be studied within the archaeological level that is appropriate. Since, objects found at a greater depth will be older than those found above. For this reason, the study of objects is done by levels.

The tools used to dig are tornadoes, pricks, brushes, pickers... All small tools that allow accurate work. In addition, all the sediment extracted from the excavation passes through water in a thin mesh. The sifted sediment is dried up, and then all those remains that had not been collected by their small size are now found.

The Arbreda Cave

The Arbreda cave, contains important occupations of the Middle and Upper Palacolihic, enable us to accurately and clearly appreciate the differences between the two periods. The Middle Paleolithic is characterized by the use of native stones; quartz, quartzite and other stones found in the riverbed. In the Upper Paleolithic we highlighted the use of flints that carried from elsewhere.

The Middle Palaeolithic of the Arbreda is dated from about 90,000 to 39,000 years ago, the final and most classical part of this period, when the Neanderthal man lived. At that time, groups of Neanderthals who ran through our regions were often installed in the Arbreda cave. They lived from hunting and gathering. Their material culture has come to us represented above all by the tools made of stone, from which we find the finished pieces and the remains of their manufacture, which took place in the cave itself.

The Upper Palaeolithic of the Arbreda cave dates from 39,000 to 11,000 years ago. During the early Upper Paleolithic culture, Neanderthal man was replaced by modern man physically equal to us. Thanks to the record of the Arbreda cave it is known that this replacement was quick and complete.

We also find remains of flora and fauna of the two periods. Among the remains of flora, we have identified species such as the bosh, the server, the aranyone, the oak, the beech and the clover. Wildlife has been recorded as deer, horse, broth, donkey, hare, wolf, hedgehog and some elephant or mammoth defense fragments that were used as raw materials to make useful tools.

The Mollet Cave

The Mollet Cave is a small cave that is located in the lower part of the travertine talus. A large part of the roof has disappeared, so we feel that it is smaller than it really was. It contained four sets, of very different importance. The upper set was probably Neolithic and used for burial. The second set, was briefly occupied by men of the Upper Paleolithic. So we only found a few archaeological remains.

The richest set is the third set. In this set, the cave was used by groups of Neanderthals who occasionally settled there, leaving tools and remains of animals they had consumed.

The last and the oldest level is the fourth. Where it has been found, a molar, which is confirmed as the oldest human being in Catalonia, from 215.000 years ago. It is believed it is from a very young individual, as it is a tooth of milk. At that time, the cave was habituated primarily by hyenas and other large carnivores.

The remains of recovered fauna are numerous and there are animals that assure us of the site's great age, such as hyena, ancient elephant, archaic bone, cavern lynx, reindeer, rhinoceros, great bovid...

The Reclau Viver Cave

The Reclau Viver cave was already known to the people of Seriny@ long before J M. Corominas began excavation. It is also the one that best preserved its original form. It consists of two rooms, the lobby and the gallery. The first room, the lobby, retains the deck. In this first room, archaeological materials from the Upper Paleolithic, the Neolithic and the Ages of metals were recovered, but all mixed and without stratigraphic order.

The second room, the gallery, was discovered during excavations. For the first time, it provided Catalonia with a succession of civilizations of the upper Paleolithic order in time. It is notable for finding numerous flint tips of foliaceous forms, called laurel or willow leaves, and tips or bifacial leaves, called Serinyadell tips. Ornamentation objects have also been found, especially small pierced marine snails that would have been used to make necklaces and bracelets.

They also found a small treasure of silver divisors of drachmas, which were used by the Greek colonists of Empúries. It is believed to be a treasure that someone hid and could never recover.


This page was last edited on January 22, 2023 at 18:51:47 UTC