Natural Shelters

It is about several natural shelters in the limestone mountain that dominates the town of Fresnedo. Their importance is due to the set of more than 50 schematic figures that decorate them, dated between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

There are five coats:

Cochantoria Coat

It is the one that is located at the lowest level and difficult to access. It has the paintings on the ceiling. 21 figures were counted: groups of points, carpids, V-shaped figures and possibly a human representation of the “swallow” type.

Shelter of the Cuesta el Paso

Red paints. Representations of carpids. Vertical lines appear between the hind legs of some that could be interpreted as sexual differentiations.

Cattle Shelter

It is the largest and the one that contains the largest number and most important paintings. Some black figure appears here. Stylized human and “bar” -type figures appear; reticulated plate idol; circles interpreted as astral symbols (sun-moon conjunction); human figures with plumes, prominent nose, strong definition of sexual attributes, crossed arms, clearly differentiated toes (one of them appears to be holding a sword in his hand); a stela-idol also appears; a group of 60 points that could be interpreted as the firmament, thus admitting its astral ideological origin.

Cattle Cave

It is the only one of the coats that admits habitability conditions. It only contains a representation located at a considerable height from the current ground. It is an idol-plate, reticulated, that is related to the idol of the whole of the Shelter of the Cattle

Trechacueva Coat

It contains paintings that have been called human figures with the arms on the handle; a schematized female human figure; remains of a painting that could be framed within the group of stelae-idols.

This is a key station due to its location and that would be explained as one of the transitional places in the expansion of the schematic painting from the Levante and the Meseta towards the Cantabrian coast. This displacement of the schematic art towards the North is related to the search for new grazing routes in areas with better climatic conditions due to the starkness of the climate on the Plateau. The beliefs and rites, of megalithic origin and greater complexity, must have had a strong impact on the customs and beliefs of the aboriginal tribes, creating in them new religious concepts in different degrees of assimilation and modifying their ritual forms without renouncing the content of their creeds. .

In the paintings, two stages can be distinguished: a more primitive one (carpids, anthropomorphic in a bar, arms in a jug); a more advanced one (greater aesthetic concern manifested by representing some anatomical details with some meticulousness and even an attempt at a pictogram).

From the point of view of the religious-cultural concept, three groups can be distinguished: first, representations of animals from the first coats that fit into the primitive zoolátric ideology; second, anthropomorphic figures that denote a trajectory towards an idolatrous religion dedicated to the protection of the dead, and third, parallel evolution of pictorial expression and of a more complex ideological religion of the astral type, in which the conjunction sun-moon it would be the axis of the new sacred ideas.

The area has more suitable places to house paintings, but it seems that they have only been made in the shelters studied, so it seems that they would be “sacred places”, used only as places of worship, except for the Cueva del Ganado, in which Some excavations could determine if it was habitable or only a burial place, since it is the largest cavity and in which only one idol is painted.

It is significant that the shelters are relatively close to the necropolis and that there is a relationship between the two. In this area, JM González discovered a set of burial mounds that have not yet been investigated.

Currently they are protected by a metal fence to prevent vandalism and they are being signaled, placing information panels and facilitating access in difficult points.

Due to the wear of the paint itself, they are very difficult to see and even more difficult to interpret.