Museo de Altamira


Entrance Museo Altamira Spain
Entrance to Museo Altamira
© Museo de Altamira
By Pilar Fatás Monforte, Directora, Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigación de Altamira.
The Museum of Altamira is a place devoted to learning about, enjoying and experiencing the life of those who painted and inhabited the cave of Altamira. The museum's most attractive offer is the possibility of knowing the humanity's first art, Paleolithic art.
The Museum is in charge of a legacy of maximum value, the cave of Altamira, a milestone in universal art history which discovery meant the discovery of Palaeolithic cave art and one of its most spectacular manifestations. The showiness of the artistic expression of the cave's inhabitants was recognised by UNESCO, which in 1985 registered it on the World Heritage List.
Hunting workshop Museo Altamira Spain
Hunting workshop
© Museo de Altamira
Families workshop Museo Altamira Spain
Families workshop
© Museo de Altamira


The reproduction of the cave, the Neocave, presents Altamira as a Palaeolithic venue, a habitation site and a sanctuary. This meticulous and exact reproduction, made in full scale, reconstructs the cave of Altamira as it was between 22,000 and 13,000 years ago, when it was inhabited by groups of hunter gatherers. The remains of the everyday life of its inhabitants can be found in the hall area, where there are large collections of fauna, shells, charcoals, and utensils made out of flint stone, antler and bone, as well as the remains of pigments and objects of furniture that provide information about their way of life.
Neocave Polychrome Ceiling Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
Neocave. Polychrome ceiling
© Museo de Altamira. Photo NXO
The art surprises the visitor, specially the colorful roof with its bison, horses, deer, goats, and painted and engraved symbols. It is in this part of the cave, scarcely penetrated by daylight, where the spaces of ritual and myth begin. This collection of animals and symbols represents a worldview, the spirituality of the hunters of the Upper Palaeolithic age and the start of our history.
The art of Altamira stands out on account of the quality of its paintings and engravings, as well as for the diversity of techniques and styles, and the collection of art spanning a period of more than twenty thousand years. It is the most spectacular embodiment of cave art and constitutes the masterpiece of brilliant painters.
Neocave Polychrome Ceilings Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
Neocave. Polychrome ceiling
© Museo de Altamira. Photo V. Gascón
Neocave View Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
Neocave view
© Museo de Altamira. Photo P.Saura


The Times of Altamira Exhibition Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
The times of Altamira exhibition.
Sector Before Altamira

© Museo de Altamira. Photo M.Otero
The permanent exhibition 'The times of Altamira' gives visitors a closer look at the prehistoric era of the Iberian Peninsula. Different aspects of prehistoric life in Altamira are shown: art, culture, life, etc.
The life of the hunters and gatherers of the Upper Palaeolithic age is revealed through the archaeological objects on display, which take into account their original context and show how they were used and created.
Hunters and gatherers satisfied their requirements for survival by selecting natural resources through hunting, fishing and gathering. Part of their daily routine took place inside the caves, around the fire. Visitors can find out about their diet, the preparation of skins for making clothes and personal ornaments, the organization of the society and its relationship to its surroundings, the economics of exploiting the surrounding environment, seasonal movement throughout the land, and the main archaeological sites in Cantabria.
The Times of Altamira Exhibition Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
The times of Altamira exhibition.
Sector IV

© Museo de Altamira. Photo M.Otero
The Times of Altamira Exhibition Museo Altamira Altamira Spain
The times of Altamira exhibition.
Sector Daily life

© Museo de Altamira. Photo M.Otero
The Cave of Altamira
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