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Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 22,000-10,000BC
Date of Inscription: 1998
Location: Europe, Portugal, Province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, District of Guarda
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Description: This outstanding concentration of rock carvings from the Upper Palaeolithic (22,000–10,000 B.C.) is the world's most exceptional illustration of early human artistic activity of its kind. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  The "Côa Valley" is the site of ancient carvings in stone. It is of particular interest due to its high concentration of art, and because it covers a period of many thousands of years (primarily 40,000 BC to 10,000 BC, with additions made as recently as the last millennium). It also differs from many paleolithic art such as Lascaux in that it is found outside of caves, on rocks in plain sight. The drawings attracted worldwide attention when plans to build a hydroelectric dam across the Côa Valley threatened to submerge them. Although hydroelectric development was already well underway, outcry from locals, the scientific community and the media led to dam construction being halted in 1995, not before a significant proportion of the drawings in the Canada do Inferno area were already underwater. The Côa Valley Archaeological Park (Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa) was opened in 1996, and was declared a protected UNESCO world heritage site in 1998. The Côa river was also the site of the Côa Battle during the Peninsular War. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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