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Did you know that... the Atapuerca Archaeological Site

 

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

Atapuerca Archaeological Site courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Tourist visit to the sites. Atapuerca Foundation

A little more history

 

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.

 

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What to see in the Atapuerca Archaeological Site?

 

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.

Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Major Cave. Portalón archaeological site. Atapuerca Foundation.

The visit

 

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.

Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Tourist visit to the Archaeological Park. Atapuerca Foundation

To discover

 

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.

 

Curiosities

 

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.

 

Useful information for visiting the Atapuerca Archaeological Site

 

Management of visits

 

To access the archaeological sites of the Sierra de Atapuerca it is compulsory to use the buses that depart from the Centre for Access to the Sites (CAYAC), the Centre for Experimental Archaeology (CAREX), or from the Museum of Human Evolution (MEH). Before going to these Centres, it is necessary to have made a reservation in advance in order to know from which Centre you are starting your visit, as each one has its own timetable.

 

Group visits: all year round. Timetables ask

 

To visit the archaeological sites it is necessary to book in advance on the following telephone numbers: 947 421 000 or 902 024 246 during opening hours from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm.

 

As the transfer to the archaeological sites is made by public transport, it is necessary to arrive at the reception centres at least 15 minutes before the reserved time.

 

The Legend

 

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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Get to Atapuerca

 

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.

 

 

 

Get to Ibeas de Juarros

 

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.

 

 

 

Get to Burgos

 

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.

 

 

 

Once there

 

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. 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to .

Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Tourist visit to the Archaeological Park. Atapuerca Foundation
Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Railway Trench. Gran Dolina site. Atapuerca Foundation.
Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Railway Trench. Gallery site. Atapuerca Foundation.
Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. General view of the Railway Trench. Atapuerca Foundation
Courtesy of Fundación Atapuerca. Railway Trench. Site of Sima del Elefante. Atapuerca Foundation.
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Listado de experiencias
Yoyi
Created the 13-03-2015
(5)

Precioso!!, Merece la pena visitarlo, el recorrido que haces es muy interesante.

List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Medium

4:45 h.20.2 km.

Stage 11 Atapuerca-Burgos
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Stages of moderate distance and slope, not overcoming great distances or slopes.
TOURISM
1
Difficulty-Medium

4:10 h.14.2 km.

A walk through the history of Burgos
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding either great distances or slopes.
TOURISM
0
Difficulty-Low

96:00 h.393 km.

Route through the charming villages of Burgos
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Remarkable

7:35 h.31.9 km.

Stage 12 Burgos-Hontanas
Difficulty-RemarkableRed difficulty category, level 2. Stage with large slopes or important distances, which require good physical preparation.
PATHS NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Moderate

3:10 h.9.2 km.

Gorge of the Oca - Route of the High Oca PRC-BU 55
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding courses, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
FLORA AND FAUNA PATHS
1
Difficulty-Medium

2:30 h.10.8 km.

Grassland of Puras de Villafranca
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and unevenness, not overcoming either great distances or unevenness.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Remarkable

6:55 h.29.9 km.

Stage 10 Belorado-Atapuerca
Difficulty-RemarkableRed difficulty category, level 2. Stages with large slopes or important distances, which require good physical preparation.
IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Low

1:20 h.5.6 km.

Gorge of Mataviejas
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Remarkable

7:50 h.34 km.

Stage 13 Hontanas-Fromista
Difficulty-RemarkableRed difficulty category, level 2. Stages with large slopes or important distances, which require good physical preparation.
PATHS IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Low

1:00 h.4 km.

Walk of the Oca
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
PATHS IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
3
Difficulty-Low

0:20 h.1.4 km.

The Yecla
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Medium

5:25 h.22.4 km.

Stage 09 Santo Domingo de la Calzada-Belorado
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category. Level 3. Stages of moderate distance and slope, not overcoming great distances or slopes.
Puras de Villafranca Mining Complex
Puras de Villafranca, Burgos
Puras de Villafranca Mining Complex

Manganese mines whose exploitation is probably one of the oldest in Spain

Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza
Hortigüela, Burgos
Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza
The Salt Flats of Poza de la Sal
Poza de la Sal, Burgos
The Salt Flats of Poza de la Sal
Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos
Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos
Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos

Benedictine monastery where the monks raise their prayers through Gregorian chant

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