Creating landscapes, living places
During its initial occupation, La Cueva del Toro, like many other caves during the Neolithic, was used not only as a place to live in and keep animals, but also to carry out ritual and funerary practices. In it archaeologists found part of an altered human skull that had been deposited with a very specific orientation.
In addition to those uses, the Neolithic was also a crucial period in which the territory was turned into a landscape with the placement of iconographic or material culture elements emphasising certain landmarks that explained their own concept of identity to the members of the community. Thus, the spaces of daily life were extended beyond the cave and the settlement to include the surrounding landscape.
Evidence of this can be seen in the female representation of El Torcal from the late 6th millennium BC found at La Cueva del Toro. This figure imitates the shape of the well-known and distinctive torcal or “screw” Karst formations in the mountains these peoples would have seen daily. The iconic association of that female figure with the rock formation is, without doubt, proof of the syncretism between their day-to-day existence and their rituals.
Pictures: Funerary practices in Cueva del Toro; karstic landscape of Torcal (Antequera). Illustrated by Miguel Salvatierra