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Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context$
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Paul Pettitt, Paul Bahn, Sergio Ripoll, and Francisco Javier Muñoz Ibáñez

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199299171.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2021

Rock Art and the Côa Valley Archaeological Park: A Case Study in the Preservation of Portugal’s Prehistoric Rupestral Heritage

Rock Art and the Côa Valley Archaeological Park: A Case Study in the Preservation of Portugal’s Prehistoric Rupestral Heritage

Chapter:
(p.263) 14 Rock Art and the Côa Valley Archaeological Park: A Case Study in the Preservation of Portugal’s Prehistoric Rupestral Heritage
Source:
Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context
Author(s):

António Martinho Baptista

António Pedro Batarda Fernandes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199299171.003.0019

Although Nelson Rebanda—the archaeologist working for the electricity company (EDP) that was building a dam in the Côa river—probably discovered the first Côa Valley engraved surface with Palaeolithic motifs (the now well-known Rock 1 of Canada do Inferno) in November 1991, the find was only revealed to the public in November 1994 (Jorge 1995; Rebanda 1995). Subsequently, the first reports on ‘important archaeological finds in the Côa Valley’ started to appear in the newspapers. The Canada do Inferno engravings were located upstream and very near to the construction site of the Côa dam. The construction work advanced at a good pace and the completion of the dam would irremediably destroy the engravings. The public revelation of the find instantly triggered a huge controversy since the first specialists to visit the site immediately classified the engravings as being of Palaeolithic style. As a result of the media attention on the Côa and right after the broadcast of the first TV reports, a pilgrimage to the Côa Valley rock-art surfaces began. Reacting to the first news on an affair that was starting to be known as ‘the Côa scandal’, IPPAR (the state body that, at the time, was in charge of managing archaeology in Portugal) created, at the end of November 1994, a committee to follow the archaeological rescue work being done in the Côa. Nevertheless, and considering the serious problem created by the construction of the dam (and the construction work continued), it rapidly became evident that IPPAR was gradually losing control over the situation as it shifted to the public domain. In December 1994, IPPAR asked UNESCO for an expert opinion to challenge the efforts of EDP (the Portuguese Power Company responsible for the construction of the dam and at the time totally state owned) to demonstrate that the Côa findings were not of Palaeolithic chronology. Throughout 1995, this would be a crucial issue since some defended the position that, if the engravings were not Palaeolithic, their patrimonial value would not be very important and, therefore, the dam could be built!

Keywords:   Epipalaeolithic art, Farizeu, Côa, Portugal, Penascosa, Côa, Portugal, Solutrean parietal art

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