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Tito Bustillo Cave Art

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The Entrance Ensemble

It is characterized by remains of pigment and red stains, possibly from representations now lost.

Some authors recognize a bovine figure painted in red on one of the large rocks fallen from the wall.




The Crossroads ensemble

The Crossroads is a large room structuring the interior of the cave and the meeting point for the corridor from the original entrance, the corridor to the Main Panel and the start of the long tunnel leading down to the end of the cave.

Remarkable in this ensemble are a grill-shaped sign and a violet horse identical to those visible in the Main Panel.





The Gallery of Horses

Discovered by Aurelio Capín, the first guide to the cave, they form one of the most unique sets of engravings because of their quality.

Zoomorphic engravings appear on a small free-standing block located in a small room accessed through a narrow horizontal crack. Some of the representations follow the ledge contours to transmit a sense of volume and greater naturalism. Eight figures, six horses, a bovine figure and possibly a bear, are clearly identified.




The Whale Ensemble

This ensemble contains some zoomorphic engravings with black and violet stains and lines as a partial representation of a marine animal identified as a whale.

Its marine nature makes it a rarity in the catalogue of animals found in Palaeolithic cave art.




The Geometrical Signs Ensemble

This consists of a small panel with engraved quadrangular signs arranged on the wall of the Long Gallery. The signs show internal divisions and parallels with some of the signs on the Main Panel as well as with other examples in Asturian and Cantabrian sites.




Hand in Negative

This is one of the most peculiar representations in the cave. Painted in negative and in red colour, although much erased, it can be seen in an upper area on the right hand wall of the Long Gallery. To date, it is the only representation of its kind in Asturias, probably dating from an early Palaeolithic human occupation of the Tito Bustillo cave.




The Gallery of Anthropomorphic Figures

A set discovered by Rodrigo de Balbín in 2000. A gap in the Long Gallery wall gives access to a small room with a curious hanging formation in semitransparent calcareous stone, commonly known as the flag. Two anthropomorphic figures are painted in red on either side of the flag.

The schematic nature of these representations allows only the discernment of the figures’ outline. Their style and radiocarbon analysis date them to the earliest phases of cave art. The uniquely remote and highly scenography location underscores the distinct symbolism of the ensemble.




The Loop Ensemble

A small nook in the wall, next to the entrance to a deep shaft, houses a representation with several linear outlines, a small loop-shaped mark and another similar mark. This loop-like shape is striking for its strong parallelism with a representation at the nearby El Pindal cave (Ribadeva).




The Chamber of Vulvas

It is one of the most emblematic sets in Tito Bustillo and the first to be discovered.

Located in a small chamber on the Gallery wall several metres above floor level, this expressive ensemble of vulvar representations – one of which is inside a human profile – appears next to groupings of schematic red dots and linear signs. 

Although initially considered to be from the Magdalenian era, formal and stylistic similarities in their execution have now placed them in the later moments of the Upper Palaeolithic.

Furthermore, the secluded, isolated location makes the set highly evocative and symbolic.

These representations show strong links with other sites in northern Spain (La Lluera II, Micolón, and El Castillo) and beyond in south-west France (Anglessur-Anglin, Abri du Poisson, and La Ferrasie).



The Engraved Zoomorphs Ensemble

Located on the Long Gallery wall at the end of the cave are several engraved representations of animals (deer, cattle, goats and horses) arranged in two different panels: one on a natural ledge and the other on a nearby wall.




The Block of Red Signs

This ensemble is located opposite the engravings of fauna mentioned above and on one of the faces of a large free-standing rock at the end of the Gallery. It shows two long linear parallel lines and several series of dotted signs.

At the foot of this rock, it is possible to access a small passageway akin to a shaft, where a natural ledge has been used to represent a bison’s head. This peculiar resource is also found in other northern Spanish and Pyrenean sites, such as Mas d’Azil and Niaux.




Red pigment remains

Remains, stains and outlines of red pigment are found across ledges, geological formations and walls along the Long Gallery. Most of these remains could be interpreted as signalling and marking elements along the way and also as connections to the decorated ensembles.