A place and its people

We are facing an eccentric space, which has lived for a long time with its back turned to the great socioeconomic changes that were unfolding far from the “Raya”. Rurality, therefore, has been strengthened by these geographical and historical circumstances, and by predominantly agrarian socioeconomic behaviors, strongly rooted in the area.

The experts endorse that, due to all these circumstances, its late knowledge, its difficult visibility and even the depopulation suffered throughout history, the archaeological site of Siega Verde has arrived intact until its official discovery by Manuel Santonja, in
1988.

It is convenient to look back and remember that many locals knew some of these representations called “Paintings of the river”, which within the cultural heritage were attributed to young men, fishermen and shepherds. It is not surprising that the person who accompanied Manuel Santonja to the “Discovery Horse” was a young shepherd from Serranillo, Ángel Hervalejo, who used to take care of his sheep in this enclave.

The area, and the Águeda River that runs through it, have always been something close to the people of this territory, since their childhood and throughout their lives. Many learned to swim in their fishing grounds, pools and caozos, at a time when there were no swimming pools, the sea was unknown, and vacations did not exist. This privileged natural setting was the backdrop for many special moments in which to enjoy rest in the company of family and friends.

Paleolithic engravings have been silent witnesses of innumerable fishing days, lively picnics, many celebrations, innumerable grazing and even washing clothes on the banks of the Águeda River.

Today the story of the stories lived by the locals in this ancient place would be endless; signs of identity that must be perpetuated and continue to be built over time.

In this exhibition, with the support of a few images, we want to show the history of Siega Verde; declared, today, a World Heritage Site.

This sample formed by the disinterested contribution of graphic material owned by individuals, professionals and institutions, aims to become a living document and continue to grow as new graphic documents appear that enrich our memory of life.

We would like to make a special mention of the Diputación de Salamanca, which provides three photographs included in the exhibition: “Minuteros. Photo Muñoz and the identities of La Raya”, made when there were only a few professional photographers in the area who went to town festivals or family events to immortalize faces, customs and people.

We understand that THE FUTURE IS NOT UNDERSTOOD without the awareness of a rural territory that is alive and open to economic and social exchanges, ready to welcome all kinds of initiatives that seek to promote synergies in the use and enjoyment of the natural, artistic and tourist resources that it contains, or in the mere contemplation of a landscape that integrates one of the largest open-air paleolithic art galleries in all of Europe, it is for all of this that SIEGA VERDE LOOKS DECIDEDLY TO THE FUTURE .

Leisure and recreation

The Águeda River as it passed through the Puente de la Unión served as a link for family and friends, as well as a grazing area. Upstream was the Pedrogordo mill, which was the reference bathing area in the area, where groups of friends would gather for summer dips.

Also, on certain dates, the river and its shore were used for celebrations, either to eat the thread or to eat the delicious hornazo.

In the 70s of the last century, an inn was successful in front of the bridge, on the left bank, a place to recharge before and after the baths. It was the Mesón Siega Verde, possible origin of the name that was later given to the archaeological site.

This area was a place of leisure and recreation for the population, an area where they had always lived with “the paintings of the river” made by the shepherds.

Discovery

During 1988, Manuel Santonja carried out archaeological research for the province of Salamanca. In October of that year, he was traveling along the Águeda River through this area and met a shepherd who lived in Serranillo, Ángel Hervalejo, in the exchange of conversation, he brought up “the paintings of the river” and they went towards a rock. . There he had engraved a horse, which was called “the horse of discovery”.

Research

During the years 1990 and 1991, 2 investigations were carried out in the surroundings of Siega Verde and up to the Puente de los Franceses in Puerto Seguro.

aggression and protection

The publications about the discovery and enhancement of the site for tourism, with free visits, caused some engravings to suffer aggression.

The Junta de Castilla y León chooses to equip the site with video surveillance cameras and fence its perimeter.

The link between the people and their bathing and recreation area is broken.

 

pastoral art

Not all the engravings are from the Upper Paleolithic, there are also some that are contemporary, which was called pastoral art.

The human being has always wanted to leave his mark on the rocks, like a fisherman who, faced with the lousy day he had in his hobby, left a ” Bad fish day ” engraved on the stone and the date in perfect calligraphy.

World Heritage

For Siega Verde to become a World Heritage Site, a long process was followed. In 2005, the Siega Verde Archaeological Zone entered the Tentative List of Spain to be proposed for World Heritage.

This list is nothing more than an inventory of assets that may be eligible to be declared World Heritage and must be on that list for at least one year.

The National Historical Heritage Council, formed by the Ministry of Culture and the autonomous communities, meeting in La Rioja in October 2008, decided to present the Siega Verde candidacy as an extension of the declaration of World Heritage of the Coa Valley Archaeological Park. (Portugal), obtained in 1998.

During 2009, reports and evaluation were made by a member of ICOMOS, who visited the Archaeological Site.

On August 1, 2010, UNESCO, in a plenary session, decided to approve the candidacy of the Siega Verde Archaeological Zone as World Heritage, as an extension of the declaration of World Heritage of the Coa Valley Archaeological Park. This declaration is the first joint denomination between 2 countries.

With Siega Verde, Castilla y León now has 8 World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. Siega Verde joins the Burgos Cathedral, the cities of Ávila, Salamanca and Segovia, Las Médulas, the Camino de Santiago and the Sierra de Atapuerca sites.