Cave of Crystals

  • Locality :Sarsa de Surta
  • Municipality :Aínsa-Sobrarbe
  • Altitude :1.319 m
  • Listed status :
  • Cultural Sequence :Chalcolithic/Eneolithic/Copper Age.




    The site is on a small limestone outcrop on top of the walls of Balcés at an altitude of just over 1300 m, relatively close to Drólica Cave.

    The first small chamber, measuring barely 4 m long by 1 m wide by 2 m high, is open to the outside and contains large numbers of calcite crystals, from which the cave takes its name.
    At the back of this initial space, a narrow circular passage that is barely 60 cm in diameter by just over 2 m long leads into a second chamber of similar size to the first. The floor of this second chamber is covered by poor depositional material consisting of earth, limestone clasts that have fallen from the roof and a number of speleothems, among which were found some human remains from at least two different individuals (three femurs, some skull fragments and a jaw).

    C-14 dating of a pelvic fragment determined the date to be 3900±100 BP, a date similar to the documented occupation of the nearby Drólica Cave.
    These dates have led researchers to conclude that the same humans who lived in the Drólica Cave buried some of their dead in the neighbouring Cave of Crystals.
    As a result, researchers identify this cave with the series of burial cavities that began to proliferate at the close of the Neolithic Period in various places previously unoccupied by humans, providing evidence of the considerable population growth that occurred in the 3rd and 2nd millennia.



    Montes, Domingo, Villarroel and Cuchí. 2001