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09 March 2021

THE LANDSCAPE OF THE VALLDIGNA IN NEANDERTAL TIMES

As we commented on January 23, the research team was finalizing a landscape recreation of the evolutionary scene of the Neanderthals who inhabited La Valldigna, and in which the embodiment of visual arts and scientific information are interrelated.

This research in Bolomor Cave was developed over three years (2016-2019) in which numerous samples were taken of the entire stratigraphic sequence of the site. This was made possible by the arduous process of excavation over the past 30 years. Sedimentological samples gave way to the corresponding fossil pollen analyzes which were later published in the prestigious international journal Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 217 (2019).

The main goal when we started this project was to achieve a landscape reconstruction as faithful as possible with the available technology. Rebuilding a part of the landscape of the prehistoric Valldigna and the central coast of Valencia during the Middle Quaternary was the essence of our dream and efforts. Today, part of it has materialized, with the obvious limitations imposed by both such a distant past and the continuous evolutionary differences of those dynamic and changing landscapes. Our recreation is like a photograph that captures and captures a moment of this past in the form of a static image. This has also been published in the same journal and in the 2021 volume, Quaternary Science Reviews, 256. You can access the studies on the site’s website: www.bolomor.com.

The Valldigna, the mountains that surround it and its projection towards the sea create a mosaic landscape of great variety and richness occupied by different biotopes. Studies of the paleovegetation of the Bolomor Cave indicate that the tree component was over 90%, which indicates lush forests mostly of Pinus (pinades) and Quercus (oaks) with a good diversity of shrubby plants that you can see in the drawings. . In general, we are dealing with a main mixed forest, but also varied with a high diversity of woody plants. A highly interesting issue is the existence of potentially edible plants such as hazelnuts, chestnuts, Mediterranean hawthorn, strawberry, carob, holly, olive, elder and others that may have been involved in the processes of Neanderthal subsistence. Of particular importance in this regard is the existence of a collection of fossil fruits pending study. Finally, we are left with a phrase that the authors have emphasized: “Bolomor is, without a doubt, a very important place for the study of the evolution of the first Europeans.”


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

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