Prehistory and Protohistory

The Palaeolithic Period

The oldest remains of human activity found thus far in Sobrarbe date from the Late Palaeolithic and consist of rock art of a simple nature, known as macaroni, inscribed into the clayey wall of El Forcón Cave, and of a number of geometrical motifs and a possible equid.



De este mismo periodo data el asta de ciervo manipulada por el ser humano que apareció en la Cueva del Moro, en Añisclo, en el ámbito territorial del bien Pirineos-Monte Perdido y otros restos hallados en la zona de Puértolas y Tella.Also from the same period is a deer horn worked by a human, found in El Moro Cave in Añisclo in the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido World Heritage site, and a number of other remains in the area of Puértolas and Tella.

Mesolithic Period

The period of transition from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic is known as the Epipalaeolithic or the Mesolithic, which lasted from 15,000 BC to 10,000 BC.

At this time, the climate stabilised and the vast ice sheets receded, leaving behind them extensive grasslands, which in turn resulted in the appearance of immense herds of animals. Groups of humans began to increase and animal numbers began to decline due to overhunting. Game grew scarce, though gathering wild fruit remained an important daily activity.

Neolithic Period

In around 5,000 BC, new patterns of behaviour typical of the Neolithic revolution began to develop in the Iberian Peninsula. Various species of plants and animals were kept and bred for human consumption, marking the start of agriculturalist and pastoralist culture. Humans were no longer as dependent on wild herds of animals as they had once been and started to move towards a sedentary life.

Metal Ages

In the Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Chalcolithic Age, the first cultures to pursue a fully Neolithic activity, shepherding, appeared in this area.
Around the 4th-3rd millennium BC, semi-nomadic groups of shepherds ranged across the extensive lands of the Pyrenees. This was also the time of the development of megalithic culture, with its huge stone monuments, which have been interpreted as collective or individual burial sites or as places that commemorate particular events or as boundary markers.
Important evidence of this megalithic culture in our area survives in the Losa de la Campa Dolmen in Tella, where part of a human skull was found.
This dolmen stands in an extremely beautiful spot and perhaps those who erected this monument wanted to pass on to their own contemporaries and their descendants a message that we today cannot decipher.

In the flatlands, humans developed bell-shaped pottery and possibly interacted with the groups that kept animals up in the mountains. It may be that the oldest known indigenous populace settled in the Pyrenees at this time.

As the Metal Ages advanced towards the Late Bronze Age at the close of the 2nd millennium BC, new groups of humans from Central Europe crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula.
In the area of the Pyrenees-Monte Perdido World Heritage site, there are Bronze-Age settlements in Tella and Puértolas.

It seems that these groups were among those later known as Celts, who came from the area of the Rhine. They brought with them a new culture known as urn field culture, characterised by a new type of burial involving cremation. These were agriculturalists who worshipped the sun and the dead. The new settlements they built are characterised by a central street running down the middle.

A new wave of Celtic invaders, in this case originating in what is today Belgium, settled in the Iberian Peninsula during the Iron Age, around 600 BC.

The Pyrenees-Monte Perdido area contains numerous places whose names were left by these peoples, such as Broto, from the Celtic root berg, meaning 'mountain'.

During the first millennium BC, people's way of life remained unchanged as they continued to devote themselves almost exclusively to animal husbandry. This was also the time when the political and cultural map that the Romans found on their arrival was drawn.

Greeks and Phoenicians

In the 8th century BC, Greeks and Phoenicians began to appear for the first time on the Mediterranean coastline of the Iberian Peninsula. Greek writers, drawing on traditions and legends, named the Pyrenean Mountains for posterity.