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Castell de Castells

Santuari del Pla de Petracos

The Sanctuary of Pla de Petracos, located in the municipality of Castell de Castells, is one of the most prominent European examples of schematic art and has been declared a Cultural Interest and World Heritage Site.

The Pla de Petracos site takes its name from the area where it is located. It consists of a set of rock shelters and a cave situated on the left bank of the Malafí ravine, within a geographical area delimited by the sea and the Aitana, Mariola and Benicadell mountain ranges. Access to the site is via a dirt road that connects the area where the site is located with kilometre 7 of the road from Benigembla to Castell de Castells.

Discovered in 1980, it is composed of eight rock shelters, five of which display painted motifs perfectly visible in an intense red colour. Four of these five shelters, which are close to each other, preserve representations associated with the so-called schematic art, a manifestation linked to the earliest Neolithic period, while another shelter preserves part of a Levantine art representation, a manifestation which appears chronologically later than the schematic art.

The representation of the human figure is the central theme, with emphasis on the worshipers, depicted with their arms extended upwards. In front of them, a few metres from the rock wall, a large stone emerges from the ground, which may be related to the meaning of the pictorial representations.

Pla de Petracos is one of the finest rock art sites in the Valencian Community. During the time when the paintings were made, it served as a sanctuary: a gathering place and a site of worship for people united by deep beliefs, in which fertility and fecundity, the agricultural cycle and family ties played a special role.

The Provincial Government of Alicante, through the Provincial Archaeological Museum (Museu Arqueològic Provincial, or MARQ), promotes a program of Rock Art Routes that aims to improve the protection of artistic manifestations, enhance knowledge about the sites, facilitate access and install explanatory panels. This program is carried out under the supervision of the regional administration and with the collaboration of the municipality of Castell de Castells. (1)

(1) MARQ. Santuari del Pla de Petracos. Museu Arqueològic d'Alacant. https://www.marqalicante.com/Paginas/es/Santuario-de-Pla-de-Petracos-P6-M10.html

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