The movable heritage of our region is conserved in Gordailua, at the Gipuzkoa Centre for Heritage Collections. Through this small exhibition, we invite you to discover some of the most important archaeological pieces in the collection.
The appearance of human beings on Earth took place in the Quaternary (from about 2.59 million to 11,000 years ago), a geological era that is divided into the Pleistocene and Holocene. The oldest material remains found in Gipuzkoa date back some 300,000 years, from the early stages of the Paleolithic (Lower Paleolithic), found in caves and outdoor habitats.
The important palaeontological collection of Gordailua also comes from the caves, including this skull from the Panthera spelaea or cave lion. The skeleton, which is almost whole, was found in an inner gallery of the Arrikrutz cave and is one of the most complete in Europe. This species lived on our continent between 670,000 and 12,000 years ago.
Towards the end of the Upper Paleolithic , 17,000 - 1,100 years ago, during the Magdalenian era, art reached its peak expression. Animals, signs and even human figures were painted or engraved on cave walls or on pieces of furniture, sometimes very realistically.
Although its function is unknown, this activity would be related to the world of beliefs.
The daily activities in these villages were mainly based on agriculture and livestock farming and they also made different products such as metals, ceramics, textiles, etc. But, in addition to this, there are also documented remains that prove the long-distance commercial activity, such as this beautiful necklace bead.
In another nearby castle, in AusaGaztelu, a hemisphere-shaped iron helmet was found, also from the late Middle Ages. It has small holes on the edge to join the coat of mail to better protect the rest of the head and body.
These two castles are located in the north of the Sierra de Aralar and were very important in the conflicts between the Kingdoms of Pamplona-Navarre and Castile, as well as in the War of the Bands.
The Gipuzkoa Heritage Collection Centre
Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa
Photos of the Gordailua facilities taken by Oscar Moreno
Photos of archaeological pieces: Saioa Cano (Garoa) and Giorgio Studer (Gordailua)
Photomontage of the Ekain platelet carried out from the drawing by Javier Salaverria (Barandiaran, Altuna, 1977)