Landscape and Environment

Bolomor Cave (Tavernes de la Valldigna) is located in the southern slope of a wide valley known as ‘La Valldigna’, oriented from west to east with low little altitude and between the  ‘Serra de les Creus’ and the Mondúver massif. “La Valldigna” is the geological limit between the iberian and Betic systems, and extends toward the Mediterranean Sea, throughout the coastal plain.

Location of Bolomor Cave in the current territory (left). Reconstruction of the coastline and plain at the end of the Middle Pleistocene (right)


Reconstruction of the coastline showing lagoon systems and the maximum marine regression at the end of the Middle Pleistocene, 150,000 years ago.

Reconstrucción paleoambiental de La Valldigna al inicio del Pleistoceno superior hace 120.000 años. Dibujo C. Puche

Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Valldigna valley at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene, 120,000 years ago. Credit: C. Puche.

Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of the Valldigna

Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of the Valldigna
Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the Valldigna valley.  Taken from Amorós et al. (2021), Quaternary Science Reviews 256, 106826.

Vista aérea de la unión entre La Valldigna y la llanura litoral.

Aerial view of the contact between the Valldigna valley and the coastal plain.

Geomorfología del entorno a partir de V. Rosselló (1968)

Geomorphology of the Bolomor Cave location according to V. Rosselló (1968).

Four main types of landscapes can be distinguished in the territory where Bolomor Cave is located according to physiographic characteristics:
1-The Valldigna or valley connected with the coastal plain as a morphological unit. In the past this landscape can be considered as a “mainly open vegetation area” according to its paleoenvironmental and general evolutionary process.
2-The mountains surrounding “La Valldigna”, which are steep and contrast with the plain. This  landscape is defined as a “wooded or leafy hillside area occupied in its time mainly by holm oaks”.
3-The river Vaca or Xeraco with its tributary Badell, which are short fluvial courses generating “humid spaces with small woods-gallery adapted to this environment”.
4-The coastal plain with lagoon systems near the sea. This area is described as “spaces flooded with dunes and lakes of fresh water from underground springs”. These are the least degraded areas and those with the fastest transformation.

La Valldigna actualmente frente a la Cova del Bolomor

The current view of the Valldigna valley from a high area in front of the Bolomor Cave archaeological site.

La Valldigna con una pequeña area lacustre, años 1960-70

The Valldigna valley showing a small active lake area during the 60-70s.

El río Vaca próximo a su desembocadura 

The Vaca river near its mouth.h

Paisaje de marjal  poco alterado y representativo de otros tiempos

Little altered marsh landscape, which can be taken as representative of the past.

The archaeological site is situated in the Mondúver massif, in its northernmost foothills. This mountain has 841 m of altitude and describes a NW-SE orientation ridge with the “Alt de la Font Nova” (742 m) and “El Penyalba” (76 m). Towards the south this mountain descends steeply towards the depressions of “La Drova” and “Foia de Barx”. Towards the north, the massif loses height through soft hills and karst plains to “La Valldigna”. Towards the northeast the descent is more pronounced, connecting with the coastal plain of Xeraco 7 km from the coast..

El Monduver con La Valldigna al fondo.

The Mondúver massif with “La Valldigna” behind.

Territorio bajo el que se sitúa Bolomor.

General view of the territory where Bolomor Cave is located.

The environment closest to Bolomor Cave corresponds to the ravine with the same name. This name corresponds more to a karstic canyon than to a river course. The landscape shows a wide vertical rocky cliff that forms part of the southern part of the tectonic depression of “La Valldigna”, in front of the largest calcareous buttresses of the “Les Agulles” and “Corbera” mountain ranges that limit the north. A wide northern area can be seen to the town of Cullera from the Bolomor karst opening, which is set like a balcony hanging over the valley. The cave is perpendicular to the flat-bottomed valley, which is almost at sea level and crossed by the Vaca River. This territory is formed by a long ridge to the south, which starts from the “Serra de Cullera” and closes the strip of frequently flooded marsh. A dual geological and mountainous relief is opposed to the west (Iberian to the NW and Betic to the SW) showing heights between 800-600 m. The Betic relief is densely karstified and steep ravines and canyons are embedded in it, such as the Bolomor, in whose final part “the Fonteta del Bolomor” (upwelling that generates a small channel towards “La Valldigna” and the Vaca river) pours its waters. This source is the main karst water supply in the Bolomor environment, discharging the arounding hypogeal flows between the limestones of this Mondúver area.

Entrada al Barranc del Bolomor en la partida l'Ombria Boca de la cueva en el farallón rocoso. Vista meridional

Entrance to the Bolomor ravine.

Entrada al Barranc del Bolomor en la partida l'Ombria Boca de la cueva en el farallón rocoso. Vista meridional

Bolomor Cave karst opening in the ravine.

Diferentes vistas de la boca de la Cova del Bolomor.

Bolomor Cave entrance.

Diferentes vistas de la Cueva Bolomor

Bolomor Cave archaeological site during the field-works.

Diferentes vistas de la boca de la Cova del Bolomor.

Another view of the Bolomor Cave archaeological site.

Diferentes vistas de la boca de la Cova del Bolomor.

View of the mouth of Bolomor Caver

The current climate of the area is Mediterranean, and the annual precipitation rainfall is usually above 700 mm. The regional orography plays an important role in these values: the mountains stand in the way of the easterly winds favoring the fall of rains, mainly in autumn and, to a lesser extent, in spring. Average annual temperatures are above 16°C and the coldest months around 10°C. The archaeological site is located in the first mountains of a rainy coastal plain.

La surgencia Fonteta del Bolomor.

The upwelling of the “Fonteta del Bolomor” source.

El rio Vaca desbordado a su paso por Tavernes.

The overflowing Vaca river passing through the town of “Tavernes de la Valldigna”.


The vegetation in the area is typically Mediterranean, which is adapted to the summer drought, evergreen, with small and leathery leaves. The climatic holm oaks have disappeared, which is the result of a long historical process of degradation (fires, grazing, agricultural practices, erosion, etc). Today cultivated fields and brushy vegetation predominate with rosemary, thyme, rockrose, etc. The Bolomor ravine, due to its topography and orientation, is a excellent example of a vegetation refuge in which the  honeysuckle, as well as endemic plants such as Anthirrinum valentinus or “Conillet blanc” grow and are representatives of the ancient Mediterranean forest.

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Different plant species from the Mondúver and “La Valldigna” areas.

Mycological flora of Raco del Bolomor