It is located in the north of Spain, in the mountain range of the same name, about 15 km east of the city of Burgos. This mountain range, which is one of the last foothills of the Iberian System, is surrounded by the rivers Pico, Vena and Arlanzón and strategically located in the so-called Corredor de la Bureba, also known as the Strait of Burgos, which separates it from the Cantabrian Mountain Range at its southern end. At the end of the 19th century, the English company The Sierra Company Limited built a mining railway, with the intention of being able to supply, above all coal and hard coal, to the flourishing Basque iron and steel industries, because what was extracted from the mines of León and Asturias was not enough. This railway line connected the Sierra de la Demanda, from Monterrubio de la Demanda, with the Villafría station in Burgos. When the railway reached the Sierra de Atapuerca the company cut, for its construction, an enormous trench more than a kilometre long and up to 20 metres deep, passing through numerous caves containing Pleistocene sediments, bones and lithic industry, leaving them in the open air and although they clearly showed their strata, nobody noticed it, today however form some of the best known sites in the Sierra, the Atapuerca Archaeological Site
This is why we can say that the Sierra de Atapuerca was born for research in the late nineteenth century and has become a true sanctuary of human evolution. Four zones or areas, where the visitor interacts with the knowledge and investigations that this great museum offers us, are the ones that are crossed and in them, the history and evolution of the human being, from the finding of the Homo Antecesor from which would derive the Homo Heidelbergensis and from this the Neanderthalensis and the Homo Sapiens Sapiens, go out to our meeting.
The tour starts from any of the visitor reception centres, the one in Ibeas de Juarros or the one in the town of Atapuerca, or you can also start the visit from the Museum of Human Evolution which is located in the city of Burgos. From any of the starting points of the visit, transport is exclusive and common for visitors who approach the sites. Of the five main sites in the excavation phase, three can be visited, the Sima del Elefante, the Galería Cave and the Gran Dolina. The Trinchera is the starting point of the route, in the Sima del Elefante, you will find the oldest remains, approximately one million years old, of the human presence, the tools they used and the remains of the animals that served them as food and shelter.
In the Galería cave you can see how its entrance, which was a hole in the ceiling of the cave, acted as a natural trap through which the animals fell, being trapped inside and being prey to other animals such as bears, wolves ... and even humans themselves. But the great house that our predecessors used to shelter from animals, cold and night is the Gran Dolina. In it appeared the remains of what seems to have been the first European human being, about 800,000 years separate us, the Homo predecessor. From this homo would derive two different species of hominids, which living and mixing among them gave rise to today's man. In the Trench there is also the Compressor Cave which is an underground quarry that was used at the beginning of the 20th century to extract blocks of limestone rock and which today is transformed into a room where an audiovisual is projected with the latest findings and scenes of hominids. A walk along the top of one of the slopes of the trench gives a beautiful perspective of the environment. The tour is completed with a visit to the CAYAC, Access Centre to the Deposits, which is located in the town of Ibeas de Juarros. In it, a beautiful model of the Sierra de Atapuerca welcomes visitors and puts them in situation, then a tour of the permanent exhibition of the Sierra de Atapuerca natural and cultural heritage will tell the history of the Sierra de Atapuerca from its origins, who inhabited the caves, who plants and animals populated the mountains, who were the first people to discover the caves and sites... In showcases, replicas of the animals that lived here and an interesting collection of fossils, open the visitor's curiosity. On the ground floor of the building there is an exhibition of the mining train, as a tribute to the one to whom we owe the discovery of this important site.
Another fun and interesting visit offers the CAREX, Experimental Archaeology Centre of Atapuerca, located in Atapuerca, with its interactive exhibitions and the Archaeological Park, where recreating a prehistoric village brings us closer to the daily life of its people. Their beliefs, their cabins, funerary monuments... immerse you in their skin and encourage you to hunt with lance, bows and arrows, to feel like a little artist starting you in prehistoric painting. Also it can be, if the day is cold, that perhaps you will manage to make fire to the old way, after having learned how the stones were worked to make the tools that our ancestors used. And to complete the experience the Museum of Human Evolution, in Burgos, where you can enjoy discovering how we have evolved from the dawn of the human race to our days both physically and biologically as our social and cultural development.
In 1976 the remains of the skulls of hominids were found in the Sima de los Huesos, it is in this year when the mining engineer, Trinidad Torres, was in this chasm looking for the remains of bears, and also found human remains. The Sima de los Huesos is not visited because it has a difficult access apart from being small, but is one of the most important sites of Atapuerca and the world, is where more fossils have been found and has made Atapuerca the greatest testimony of Homo heidelbergensis as it is here that has been found the highest percentage of remains of this species of hominid throughout Europe. The most outstanding and well-known is Miguelón, the best preserved fossil skull in the world.
There is nothing more mysterious than the unknown and the curiosity that this provokes leads us to explore places that we believe difficult and when we get access to them we can not resist the need to record our passage. That's why we know that the Major Cave has been known for a long time, since Fray Manuel Ruiz, when in 1645 he managed to enter it, left his name engraved on it. It is known that in 1868 there is already a guide in this cave, D. Ramón Inclán, and in 1910 Jesus Carballo discovers the paintings of the Portalón of the Major Cave.
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To get to Atapuerca in our vehicle you can follow the N-I to the detour, near the municipality of Quintanapalla, to Olmos de Atapuerca and from there continue to Atapuerca. In the N-120 between Burgos and Logroño we find the other detour, near Zalduendo that takes us to Atapuerca, passing through Santovenia de Oca and Agés. By bus we can reach Atapuerca with the bus service that covers the line Burgos-Cerratón de Juarros and has a stop in Atapuerca. You can also get there by bus from the capital of Burgos, with the Burgos-Logroño line with a stop at the national line.
Ibeas de Juarros is located in the middle of the N-120, a few kilometres from Burgos in the direction of Logroño. To get there by bus we have a regular bus service that covers the route Logroño-Burgos with a stop in Ibeas de Juarros.
Burgos, due to its privileged location, is an important crossroads. Numerous national roads, motorways and highways run through the municipality, linking the city with all the surrounding capitals. To the north it is the N-623 and the N-I that reach it from Santander and Vitoria respectively, to the west it is the A-231 or Camino dual carriageway and the A-62 that do it from León and Valladolid, to the east it is the N-120 that joins Logroño and to the south it is again the N-I, now the A-I, that comes from Madrid. The Burgos Bus Station is located in the southern part of the city, very central and close to the Santa María Bridge, Burgos Cathedral and the Museum of Human Evolution. The Burgos-Rosa de Lima Train Station is located to the north of the city, on Avenida Príncipes de Asturias.
In the three localities we will find the visitor reception centre of the Yacimientos de la Sierra de Atapuerca, from where the buses that will take us to visit the archaeological sites depart. The CAREX Experimental Archaeology Centre is located in the town of Atapuerca, approximately 1 km from the village. To get there we will have to take a detour on the left hand side as we reach Atapuerca from Olmos de Atapuerca. The CAYAC Access Centre is located on the outskirts of the town of Ibeas de Juarros at km 97 of the N-120, from Burgos to Logroño. If you access from the N-1, towards Vitoria, take the detour to Olmos de Atapuerca and continue on this road until you exit at the N-120 towards Burgos, just before you reach Ibeas de Juarros. The Museum of Human Evolution is located in the centre of the city of Burgos, in the pedestrian street Paseo de la Sierra de Atapuerca, s/n, where we have a car park in Calle Doctor Fleming, s/n.
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Precioso!!, Merece la pena visitarlo, el recorrido que haces es muy interesante.
3:10 h.9.2 km.
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