Eusko Jaurlaritza - Gobierno Vasco

Department of Culture


Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi

Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi

Following the discovery, a whole series of problems arose between the public authorities and the Prehistory Department of the Aranzadi Science Society, conducted by Jesús Altuna. These were the years of the great Spanish tourism boom , when too many sacrifices were being made for quick profit. Even the press accused the Aranzadi Science Society of wanting to lock culture up behind bars and demanded that it open the cave to the public immediately.

Jesús Altuna argued that its opening to the public would result in the loss of this treasure and deprive future generations of any knowledge of the cave.

The excavation of the site was programmed, and for this purpose the cave remained closed for the time being. This first step was achieved successfully and excavations began that same year, 1969, and were not completed until 1975.

By then, things were viewed differently. The damage caused by excessive visitors to the caves of Lascaux and Altamira was well known. In addition, the establishment of a pre-autonomous autonomous system in the Basque Country following the death of Franco, made it possible to keep the cave closed.

Since then, the Aranzadi Science Society, through its Prehistory Department, has jealously guarded this magnificent heritage. As a result, the cave remains in exactly the same condition as it was when it was discovered - just as it hat stood for many centuries before.