Prehistoric boats and rock art. New data from the shelter of Laja Alta (Jimena de la Frontera, Cadiz)
Morgado, Antonio; Garcia-Alfonso, Eduardo; Garcia Del Moral, Luis F.; Benavides Francisco, Jose A.; Rodriguez-Tovar, J.; Esquivel, Jose A.
The Laja Alta rock shelter paintings (Jimena de la Frontera, Spain) are the clearest existing testimony of sailing vessels from ancient times in the western Mediterranean. The majority opinion of the research has dated the naval scene in the first or the end of the second mill. BC. This article offers new reproductions and data for a better understanding of the figures represented. Based on the results obtained, we propose a different hypothesis. The absolute dates confirm that the rock shelter was used in the IV-III mill. cal. BC., the Late Neolithic and Copper Age. It was a time of important community transformations. Besides, others datas (types of figures, cultural context, pigment analysis by optical reflectance and superposition of figures) do not deviate from the results dates. The topographical distribution indicates that the boats occupy a central position in the rock shelter. Thus, the boats are the main theme of the paintings of Laja Alta and the rest of the motifs are determined by the naval scene. This conclusion has important historical implications for the transfer of technologies, goods and ideas that shaped the societies of the Late Neolithic and Copper Age of the Western Europe and North Africa.
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