ARTE RUPESTRE

Enclave:

Barfaluy I

  • Locality :Lecina
  • Municipality :Bárcabo
  • Altitude :740 m.
  • Listed Status :Site of cultural interest. World Heritage
  • Cultural sequence :Neolithic.
  • Excavation :Vicente Baldellou. 1986 -7

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Mapa

Description

On the left-hand bank of the La Choca gulley, which flows into the River Vero on the right. A signposted path (1 hour) that begins in Lecina leads to the site.

Small cave with a 5-m opening and 5 m in depth situated at the eastern end of the cliff. This is the easternmost cavity in the Barfaluy group.
It contains schematic paintings in reddish hues distributed unevenly across three sectors of the walls of the rock shelter.


Despite the roughness of the rock surface throughout, the state of the pigment of some of the fingerprints is excellent. In contrast, others have largely been lost and are difficult to see.


SECTOR I

This is on the left-hand wall of the cave and is the largest panel. The colouring is reddish in hue and relatively uniform.

It is possible to make out:

- An anthropomorph measuring 5.6 cm with pronounced toes and hands that are out of proportion and a bifurcated sign above its head.
This seems to be a male figure in bright red that has a small, pointed head and short arms extended downwards.

The size of the arms is not in proportion with the hands, which are outsize due to the artist's intention to portray the fingers, three on the right hand and four on the left.

The legs are splayed and have a dot between them, symbolising the phallus. The left leg is somewhat bent. Like the upper extremities, the feet are out of proportion and each is shown with three toes.

Above the head is a vertical straight line measuring 3.3 cm that bifurcates at the bottom. The type of tool or other element that this may represent is unknown, although it is undoubtedly associated with the human figure due to its proximity and the use of the same colour.
The two figures are affected by the flaking of the wall.

- Two heavily stylised quadrupeds that are almost identical

One of these figures, measuring 5.5 cm long, is shown turning towards the right and is drawn in simple straight lines. The horizontal line defines the body, while the verticals form the ears and legs. The diagonal lines are used for the area of the snout. The tail forms a sharp angle towards the rear legs. This figure does not have sufficient distinguishing features to be able to determine its species.

The other quadruped, which measures 4.9 cm, is very similar to the one described above: similarly arranged, it has large ears, a snout that extends obliquely downwards and the same execution based on simple lines. The minor difference between them is that the lines of this figure are slightly thinner and the legs, particularly the front legs, are longer and more slender, while the tail is at a less acute angle.

- Dot forms

A group of four dots in very faded red pigment, like that of the figures described above. Length of the group of dots: 4 cm.
- Very faded anthropomorph. The area of the head is visibly faded, hence we do not know if the figure originally had or lacked a head. It measures 4.8 cm long.

- A scene consisting on an anthropomorph very similar to the one above shown dragging an animal or a portable object on which a second human figure lies stretched out.

This is a very interesting scene due to its graphic expressiveness, but it is difficult to interpret. To the right can be seen an anthropomorph, similar in characteristics to the one described above, that seems to be walking.

Part of the head is missing, as is the upper right limb. The left arm has a hand with four fingers, while the feet, which are also out of proportion, each have three toes. Between the legs, a separate short line represents the penis.

From the missing right hand, a cord or rope (today broken) would have extended to link up in the scene with the second figure, which is more complex in signification: it could be a movable object, like a cart, on which there is a second human figure, which would seem to be in profile, if we consider the protuberances of the head and the position of the arms, which are extended forwards, with three fingers on each hand.

However, the poor overall state of conservation of the designs makes it impossible to ascertain whether the present-day configuration of the head of the anthropomorph is as it would have been in the original drawing.

A zigzagging line that forms an upside-down W could be a schematic symbolisation, in false perspective, of the legs of the individual, who would be sitting on the hypothetical cart, his lower limbs bent.

Detailed analysis of the possible portable element might suggest another potential interpretation: if we disregard the absence of legs, the remaining lines are broadly reminiscent of those of the quadrupeds described above. This indicates that this figure could have been an animal whose limbs were not painted. In this case, the zigzagging lines previously seen as a person's legs would now be a kind of saddle. The length of the cart or anthropomorph, depending on how the figure is interpreted, measures 6.3 cm and the upright anthropomorph 4.9 cm.

- Undeciphered sign

This sign done in the same bright red pigment has survived in part. It seems to be made up of two horizontal zigzagging lines joined tangentially by three angles, thus forming a pair of irregular lozenges. The schema is bounded above by a straight, more or less horizontal line.

- Zigzag

Small separate line in bright red, badly deteriorated. Simple zigzag in a single irregular line.

- Blots and other unidentifiable traces

All done in red apart from two blots in an orangey colour (possibly due to the running of the pigments). To the left of Sector 1 and near the cave entrance is a possible finger mark in orange which could be either a painting or a natural blot in the rock.

SECTOR II

This is on the back wall of the cave and consists of two paintings in reddish, relatively faded hues:

- A possible oculated idol in a very poor state of preservation and barely distinguishable

This element is very poorly preserved due to the fading of the paint and the existence of flaking that has resulted in the disappearance of the central area of the paint.


It is possible to see two dots corresponding to the eyes, separated by another longer one between them that would symbolise the nose.
Above these dots, a horizontal (today broken) line would represent the superciliary arches in that, below them, two series of two slightly curving superimposed and parallel lines could refer to the lines below the eyes.

It is possible that these lines below the eyes, today separated by the flaking mentioned earlier, were originally joined, reducing the number of superimposed and parallel lines to two.

The central section of the possible oculated figure is missing due to flaking. In the lower part, it is possible to see four vertical, almost parallel lines. The idol measures 10.2 cm long. There are very close analogies between this figure and the figure in panel 4 of Penya Escrita de Tárbena in Alicante.

- Traces

Barely visible traces in reddish hues consisting of two small oblique lines (perhaps originally a single line).

SECTOR III

This is to the right of and very close to Sector II. In this sector, however, a brighter red predominates (similar to that of Sector I)
It features:

- A branched sign

This figure is made up of four superimposed zigzagging signs in the shape of a W that barely seem to touch. Though the top two signs look now to be connected, it should be borne in mind that this effect may be due to the pigment running. The group measures 7.3 cm long.

Pilar Utrilla and María José Calvo (1999) describe this painting as four rows of double zigzags in a vertical position, which may suggest a succession of individuals joined at the hands or with splayed legs.

SECTOR IV

Separated from the rest of the painted panels of Barfaluy I and situated next to the entrance of the cave to the right.

- Bar or finger mark

In a horizontal position and painted in a chestnut-reddish hue and measuring 3.7 cm.