La Cueva de la Pileta en la Red

The Pileta cave on the Net


Secrets of our distant ancestors beneath the hills of Spain (15/10/19). We're in the Cueva de la Pileta, near Ronda in southern Spain. Armed with tiny lanterns, we follow our guide down narrow, slippery stone stairs into who knows ... By John Henningham.

Paleolithic  Fishing - The La Pileta halibut. Peter Faris. 2018/09/15.

What the caves are trying to tell us (2017). "Every so often, I get the urge to drag someone into a cave, and show them something unspeakable... Plenty of caves would do, but let’s take him to the Cueva de la Pileta in Andalucia, Spain. There, we’ll push him into one of its huge, damp, cool cathedral-halls of fractured rock, where the darkness and the vastness of empty space seem to press themselves tightly against your skin, close and clawed and ancient..." By Sam Kriss.

Locked in the dark with 4000 bats and 30.000 year old human remains (2013).
"...It was a true privilege to be taken on a journey of 30.000 years of prehistoric art, even more so when it was guided by a family-member of the man who re-discovered the cave a century ago..." By Karethe Linaae.


La cueva de la Pileta. The Saga of the Extraordinary Bullón Family.
Author: Morgan Smith
Publish Date: July 12, 2010
Preview photo book: http://cuevadelapileta.blogspot.com.es/2010/07/la-cueva-de-la-pileta-by-morgan-smith.html

 In the caves of Spain, explore early man’s Art 101 - The Washington Post. (2014)
... On a different trip across the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, we stopped in the ancient city of Ronda for the night (fantastic gorge, beautiful old buildings, Arab baths). The next day, we drove to the rural village of Benaojan, where a small sign directed us up a dirt road to La Pileta, one of the few privately owned, open-to-the-public caves with paintings in Spain.

We parked in a dirt lot with a few other cars and walked up a steep trail and stone steps that ended by the mouth of the cave. A roofed picnic area beside a small, unoccupied cabin provided shelter from the sun. Near 1 p.m., the time of our tour, the cave’s iron door opened; a few people emerged squinting at the sun. They were followed by the cave’s guardian and tour guide, Tomas Bullon, the great-grandson of Jose Bullon, who discovered the cave in 1905.

Bullon, who is trying — so far, without success — to persuade his 17-year-old son to join this family business, led us through the cave opening into a small gift shop lit only by his battery-powered lantern. He collected the entry fee of 3 euros each and handed out a few more lanterns. Then he told us the rules: No photos once we left the shop area — the flash is bad for the art, and the sensors are bad for the bats, he said, and no touching anything (standard rules in such caves). Inside, the cave was wet and cool. Water dripped from stalactites formed over thousands of years. Bullon was eager to speak in English, a rare but welcome opportunity for us. Along with some British tourists, we took him up on it.

Cueva de la Pileta’s art is mostly black and red paintings of horses, deer and one enormous fish. The art is thought to be about 25,000 years old. Miranda S. Spivack, 10-30-14.


Poems from Spain: Cueva de la Pileta. By paxphilia | July 7, 2010

Deep within this womb of stagnant time
The air smells of earth
Heavy darkness presses its hands
Against the small light of my lantern.
Looming rock formations
Ominous and protective
Elude the hazy light
Edges seep into black.
Human brains, crumpled figures,
Tongues of mangrove roots
Tiered cakes
Moon crater pocks and alien amoebas
Texture and form are torn from their normal definitions
In these twilight shapes.
New concepts birthed from minerals and erosion.
The discarded playthings of a wacky claymaker god


... However, the atmosphere was really Indiana Jones like! Only without snakes and secret codes etc. Bats we saw. The cave was big, sometimes the ceilings 50 meters high and at some ponts extremely narrow passages. Small lakes were to be found, and everywhere beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed during thousands of years. We saw Palaeolithic paintings of horses, bulls, fish, and goats from 20.000-25.000 years ago... April 9, 2010


You’ll be just as surprised as we were: How is it possible that this cave be so incredible and yet relatively unknown? At the door a trickle of people are waiting to be astounded. Luckily the hoards of tourists haven’t made it this far. Only ten minutes from Ronda you’ll find cave drawings of bisons and fish dating from up to 20,000 years ago. The Cueva de la Pileta is a voyage into the past that will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open... By Julio Ruiz the 28 November 2009.


Ronda, Spain: Land of bridges, bandits and bullfights.
Rick Steves. Thursday, December 17, 2009.

... To really see prehistory, day-trip to the Pileta Cave, the best and most intimate look a tourist can get at prehistoric cave paintings in Spain. The farmer who owns the cave is a master at hurdling the language barrier. As you walk the cool half-mile, he'll spend an hour pointing out which are five times as old as the Egyptian pyramids. The Neolithic and Paleolithic drawings of black, ochre, and red are mostly just lines or patterns, but there are also horses, goats, cattle, and a rare giant fish, made from a mixture of clay and fat by finger-painting prehistoric hombres...


Nerja cave vs. Pileta cave.
gray_lady on Jul 24, 2006.

The caves near Nerja and Pileta near Ronda are quite different in many ways.
1) The Nerja Cave is very highly developed; including a large theater with built-in theater seats and a stage where concerts are performed at certain times of year. You also have an opportunity to purchase a picture of yourself, which was taken in the cave, as you exit through the gift shop! Pileta is almost completely undeveloped, and because the rooms are much smaller, you are very close to the walls, and the stalactites and stalagmites. There is no Gift Shop!
2) Nerja is lighted throughout; Pileta is lighted only by the lanterns carried by the guide and a few visitors in your group. Incidentally, call ahead to get the schedule at Pileta -- groups are limited to 25.
3) Cave paintings by some of the people who inhabited the caves thousands of years ago are, in Nerja, not in parts of the cave which are open to the public. In Pileta, some very interesting primitive artwork and symbols are in view.
4) Perhaps the biggest difference to me, was that the Pileta cave is a "living" cave -- there are underground ponds and trickles of water verywhere, and you can see tiny droplets carrying bits of limestone hanging from the bottom of stalactites as they grow. Nerja was totally dry when we visited in May of this year, and many of the stalactites and stalagmites were lying broken on the floor of the cave, or missing entirely, with only stumps remaining.
5) I would think the children, as well as adults, would think Pileta is a real cave experience, from the entrance, which is a small hole in the side of the mountain, to the narrow passages (one must duck in places) to the "living" stalactites and stalagmites. The Nerja caves are inpressive for their size, but a bit too Disneyfied for my taste!


Father of Prehistory. The Abbe Henri Breuil: His Life and Times.
By Alan Houghton Brodrick. 1963, 90-93.

... Colonel Willoughby Cole Verner was a British officer
who, after retiring from the army, bought a house near
Algeciras, opposite Gibraltar across the Bay. In this home
he spent a good deal of each year not only because the
climate suited him but also because the wild, deserted
valleys and mountains northwards shelter a rich treasure
of bird life, and Verner was a keen ornithologist. To this
day the way from the sugar-cane-fringed water meadows
of the lower valleys up to the rock-ringed plateau of Ronda
runs through a country where you see hardly a sign of human life, save a goatherd here and there, and if you are lucky you may glimpse the great golden eagle swooping or gliding.

Verner spent a good deal of his time wandering about
on muleback accompanied by a single guide. While he
was prospecting one day to the west of Ronda perched
over its precipitous ravine, the guide remarked, "Over
there near Montjaque and Benoajdn there s a mysterious
cave the people call La Pileta." It seems it was as long ago
as 1902 that some peasants seeking guano for fertilizer be
gan to let themselves down with cords into a pit which at
its bottom had an opening leading into a cave. As there
were mysterious markings on the walls, the cavern got
the name of Los Letreros.

Verner, his curiosity aroused by what his guide said, went to see. He had no interest in or knowledge of prehistoric matters but he did explore the cavern (then very difficult of access) and, when he returned to England, he wrote articles (in the Saturday Review), entitled "Letters from Wilder Spain," and these attracted Breuils attention. The year was 1911.

Twelve months later Breuil, Obermaier and Verner were at La Pileta, which was to reveal some surprising things. The cavern was occupied by Man during long ages, or at any rate, for periods over a long lapse of time. There were neolithic and Bronze Age hearths and implements as well as several human skeletons, one at the bottom of a deep chasm. These looked as though they might be the remains of men and women sacrificed or, at any rate, allowed to die as offerings, maybe, to the spirits of the cave or the waters. The bones show no signs of mutilation, norwere they buried, possibly because the victims were just allowed to starve to death in the recesses of the earth; bloodless sacrifices being suitable to some religious demands.

Many years after Breuil s time at La Pileta (i.e., in 1935) the so-called "Venus of Benaojan" was found, a terra-cotta amulet about 21/2 inches high (exactly six centimeters), shaped rather like a "double axe" and with two holes at the top (making "eyes" and also holes for suspending the object), two knobs figuring breasts lower down and at the bottom a mass of dots representing the pubic hair. The object dates from the Bronze Age and so is some 3000 years old but it is evidence of the "Eye Goddess" cult.

But the paintings are the chief attraction of La Pileta. A considerable number of them are in the naturalistic style of the northern Spanish prehistoric caves and not at all like the Levantine paintings.

In addition to the animal pictures is an immense mass
of signs, some obviously stylized representations of animals together with an abundance of comb-shaped and
other patterns which occur also in much later times. The
symbolical, schematized art of these later ages has, then,
roots deep down in palaeolithic ages. Obermaier worked
out a series of designs ranging from simple but recognizable forms of men and women right up to the signs on Piettes Azilian pebbles.

La Pileta is now quite easy to reach. A road has been
made that leads nearly to the cave s entrance. Since
Breuil s time new galleries have been explored though
they do not add very much to the evidence the Abb
gathered, and La Pileta de Benoajdn (Monaco, 1915) by
Breuil, Obermaier and Verner is still the best book on the

Of course the startling revelation of La Pileta was that
right down in the Spanish South there flourished in Late
Old Stone Age times a naturalistic art closely related to
that of southwestern France and northern Spain. Evidently
southern and northern Spain and southern France were at
some epochs linked together in culture. No doubt the lines
of communication lay around the coasts, the coastal plains
being then much wider than now...



Cave art. Unknown animal at Cueva de la Pileta. Ver imagen
January 2009.


Cueva de la Pileta, by Jan Lipes.
July 2008.

... In 1975, my wife, Janet, and I traveled in Andalusia after reading a National Geographic article on the region. We sought out La Pileta, which was in the countryside outside Benaoján.
We climbed the rough-hewn stone steps cut into the mountain wall to explore the cave but found the entrance to the crypt closed with steel bars and a heavy padlock. All we could see was a sign in German, which read, “Der Fuhrer ist in der Höhle” (the leader is in the cave). “Der Fuhrer,” in this case, was not A. Hitler, but the tour guide, one of the descendants of La Pileta’s discoverer, the fourth generation to own the cave...

http://www.buckscountyherald.com/~Lipes 7-10.pdf