Decorated scapula

Approximately 16,000-13,000 years ago

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Madrid, Spain

Deer scapula decorated with the figure of a doe with its head turned back and its ears pricked up, looking alert. Incised striated lines along the head and neck emphasise the muscles of the animal and give the depiction volume. There are also two horse-like figures, one that is fairly crude, positioned below the doe and facing the opposite way to it, along with an outline that could be the head or neck of another doe. This piece forms part of a collection of 33 decorated scapulae that were discovered during the 1911 campaign on level β of Castillo cave, assigned to the Lower Magdalenian. Castillo cave (Puente Viesgo, Cantabria) is a benchmark site in terms of the prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula, and has one of the most representative stratigraphic sequences of Palaeolithic Europe. Discovered by Hermilio Alcalde del Río, the first systematic excavations did not take place until 1910-1914, directed by Hugo Obermaier and financed by the Institute of Human Palaentology (Institut de Paléontologie Humaine – IPH) of Paris.


  • Title: Decorated scapula
  • Date Created: Approximately 16,000-13,000 years ago
  • Provenance: El Castillo Cave (Puente Viesgo, Cantabria, Spain)
  • Type: Portable cave art
  • Rights: Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Bone
  • Cultural Context: Lower Magdalenian

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