It is surrounded by an incomparable landscape in which the Cantabrian oaks, the countryside or the estuary are present. It is located near the hermitage of San Mamés, on the eastern shore of the Urdaibai basin, on the southern slope of Mount Ereñusarre, at the top of which is another hermitage, that of San Miguel. It was some boys from the village eager to explore, to find new places and with the necessary curiosity, who discovered the cave figures of Santimamiñe in 1916. The first archaeological excavations were carried out between 1918 and 1926. The cave preserves remains of human settlements from more than 14000 years ago, Magdalenian period and is part of the set of prehistoric sites of the Atlantic arc.
The Cave of Santimamiñe has a length of about 365 meters of great geological beauty, with abundant formations of stalactites, stalagmites, banners ...This is a rich archaeological site that goes from the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic to Roman times and a precious and important sample of cave art with representations of prehistoric fauna, represented in a monochrome way, in black, because the material used to paint was coal, and in which the bison stand out, in a total of thirty-two, six horses, seven goats, a deer and even a brown bear, as well as up to fifty figures that are distributed in three rooms within the cave, the room prior to the chamber of paintings, the sanctuary, and the new room of paintings. In the course of the years and with the pertinent investigation more figures have been discovered, some of them in galleries of very difficult access. The caves have been closed to the public since 2006, although there are guided tours in which you can see the entrance to the cave and the archaeological site, enjoy the spectacular natural environment and in the hermitage of San Mames, converted into an interpretation centre, make a virtual visit to the cave, thus getting to know its insides and its famous paintings.
Once the glaciation was finished and when the situation of the coast was more similar to the present one, the inhabitants of Santimamiñe collected to feed themselves great quantities of shells, as it is testified by the great deposit of shells found in the site and that belongs to a later epoch to the one of the cave figures.
At the entrance to the cave of Santimamiñe, which is at an altitude of about 150 metres above current sea level, there is a large horse chestnut tree that was planted by a labourer who helped with the archaeological excavations that took place shortly after the discovery.
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The inhabitants of the cave of Santimamiñe were hunters and gatherers, especially liking deer and goats, although they did not disdain to fish salmon in the river and since it was very cold they gathered around a great fire, hence the vestiges of large bonfires in the ceilings and walls of the cave.
Kortezubi is located on the BI-2238 road that connects the towns of Guernica and Lekeitio. Shortly before reaching Kortezubi as you do from Guernica is located at the junction with the BI-4244 that will take us directly to the neighborhood of Basondo. Kortezubi has a bus stop that covers the route Guernica - Elantxobe - Lekeitio - Guernica.
We will have a car park shared between visitors to the Painted Forest of Oma and the Cave of Santimamiñe where we can park our vehicle.
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