No replica, no matter how realistic, can ever compare with seeing a real cave painting created by the hands of prehistoric humans. But at the Prehistoric Park of Tevergaain, located in the foothills of the awe-inspiring mountains of Asturias, you have the chance to visit some astoundingly replicated rock art in preparation for visiting the real thing.
At Tevergaain’s main gallery, the “Cave of Caves,” reproductions of the famous cave paintings at Niaux, Tito Bustillo, Pena de Candamo, Altamira, and many other sites are exhibited in dark underground tunnels explored with a tour guide using flashlights. Exact copies of Ice Age artifacts from all over Europe are also displayed in the museum building.
As a unique added touch, Tevergaain is also a superb place to see, in the flesh, some of the animals that feature in the cave art and once roamed the prehistoric landscape. Species such as European bison, Przewalski horses (which look just like the equines painted at the Tito Bustillo and Pena de Candamo caves), red deer and fallow deer are housed in large enclosures on the grounds. You can also marvel at the results of modern attempts to “recreate” extinct species like the Aurochs and the Tarpan through selective breeding.
The park hosts workshops throughout the day where you can learn to light fires in the laborious way that primitive humans would have done, or how to accurately use an atlatl (spear-thrower) or bow and arrow to hunt game (no real animals harmed in this). This educational park is a window into another era, and a great way to learn about the environmental and historical context in which this ancient cave art was created by the early human tribes of modern Europe.
Know Before You Go
The Tevergais Prehistoric Park (Parque de la Prehistoria de Tevergais) is open from Wednesday to Sunday. The entrance fee is 6.30 euro and includes access to all the cave replicas and activity workshops.