ONE hundred prehistoric carvings up to 15,000 years old have been discovered in Catalunya.
Archaeologists came across the depictions of horses, deer and bulls, as well as a multitude of abstract symbols that throw a light on the artistry of ancient humans.
The images have been etched into the soft rock walls of the cave.
A team of archaeologists led by Josep Maria Verges uncovered the art within the Cave of Font Major complex, which is about 90 kilometres from the Catalan capital.
The subterranean system was first discovered in 1853, but it was not until last October that the carvings were discovered, and only now the news made public.
Parts of the three-kilometre complex are open to the public, although no access has been given to the stretch of the cave containing the carvings.
These date to the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age era.
The world-famous paintings at another Spanish site – Altamira in northern Spain –date to the same era, but are thought to be up to 20,000 years older.
Maria Verges, from IPHES (the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution) has described the find as ‘exceptional’ and compared the cave to a shrine.
The carvings are now being studied and recorded using 3-D scanning technology.
They are said to be extremely fragile and can be damaged by merely being touched, with experts trying to find ways of preserving the finds.