Archaeologists in northern Spain have discovered deep in a cave a series of cave paintings dating as far back as 14,000 years.
Scientists said they found around 70 paintings nearly 1,000 feet underground in the Basque Country’s Atxurra cave.
While the site was first discovered in 1929, the cave’s depth made it difficult to explore. The latest discovery, which began in 2014, has been described by head archaeologist Diego Garate as “an exceptional find, the equivalent of discovering a lost Picasso.”
“Discoveries of this caliber are not made every year, at most, once a decade,” Garate told The Local. “It is important because of the quantity of figures depicted, their excellent conservation and for the presence of associated archeological materials such as charcoal and flint tools.”
The drawings include hunting scenes and pictures of horses, bison, deer, and goats.
The cave also wins the distinction of being the home of the drawing of a bison with the most spear markings found in Europe yet , as the cave holds a painting of one bison is pierced with — over 20 spears.
The discovery of the paintings also gives credence to Spain as one of Europe’s hot spots for cave art, adding to a list that includes the famed Upper Paleolithic drawings in Altamira to the recently found ones in the Cantabria region that are 20,000 years old.
The Atxurra cave is not currently open to the public, but archaeologists hope to create accessible 3D versions of the illustrations.