Côa Valley Archaeological Park
The Côa Valley Archaeological Park is the greatest assembly of Palaeolithic open-air engravings known to present times in the entire world.
On the mountains of the northeast Portugal visitors will find the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, an outstanding testimony of the early days of mankind. Along the magnificent landscape of the Côa River valley, decorated with olive groves, almond trees and vineyards, was hidden one of the most important treasures of expressive art in the world. This historic treasure was discovered in the 20th century and immediately triggered a huge controversial that led to the cancellation of the dam construction projected for the site that would flood the area thus destroying the engravings. The final seventeen kilometers of the Côa valley, with its hundreds of Palaeolithic engravings, became the first Portuguese Archaeological Park on August 1996. On the 2nd of December 1998 the importance of the Park, that destroyed the assumption that rock art only exists in caves, was acknowledged by UNESCO that declared it a World Heritage Site.
The uniqueness of Côa Valley Archaeological Park
The Côa Valley Archaeological Park is the greatest assembly of Palaeolithic open-air engravings known to present times in the all world. The valley schist rocks, one of the brand images of the region, are an open-air art gallery of engravings dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period, being a unique testimony of the evolution of life during a 25,000 timeline, portraying images from several prehistoric, protohistoric and historic moments, with special emphasis on the Upper Paleolithic, Iron Age, Historic and Late Pre-history periods.
The entire collection of the open-air engravings is gathered in the Museum, where are exhibited both original pieces and replicas along with interactive zones, using the latest digital technology.
However, for those who prefer in loco sensations, the Park offers organized visits, in all-terrain vehicles, to three of the most important sites of the Park, namely Canada do Inferno, Penascosa, and Ribeira de Piscos. There is also a nocturnal visit to Penascosa and the oriented Tour “On the track of paleolithic hunters”.
If you are interested in learning more about demonstration and experimentation of stone knapping, fire-making, making of glue and rope, heating liquids, hunting activities or realization of engravings in slate don’t miss the opportunity to participate on the Experimental Archaeology Workshop available.
As these activities are very popular, I advise booking in advance. Click here for further information on schedules, prices and booking of the a.m. activities.