The archaeological remains at La Araña
La Araña is the last district in the municipality of Malaga, and is a remarkable area which stands out because of its cement factory, its unspoiled beach (classified as a natural beach, not an urban one) and, very much less well-known, its archaeological value. Amid the caves and rocks of this unusual area are the Yacimientos de La Araña, one of the finest archeological parks in Europe, where there are remains from the Neanderthal, Neolithic and Copper ages.
The three areas which make up the archaeological complex are the Peñón del Cuervo, Punta Paloma, and Complejo Humo. The latter is considered the greatest treasure, with remains from Pre-Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and groups closer to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. Overall, the area has prehistoric remains dating from the Lower Paleolithic age to that of the Copper or Chalcolithic period, from cultures such as the Carthaginians and Romans, as well as mediaeval and modern peoples. All these civilisations developed in this region under the shelter of the wall of ancient cliff which, through the erosive effects of the sea, contained caves in which they could live.
It is also important to mention the geo-botanic value of the Complejo Humo because it is home to some extremely rare native plants such as the ‘siempreviva malagueña’ (Limonium malacitanum; the ‘arto negro’ (Maytenus senegalensis), a thorny African shrub which is found on the coast between Malaga and Almeria, and the ‘bufera’ (Withania frutescens), which only grows on the Mediterranean coast.
Among the remains found in the caves and amid the rocks are tools made from stone, flint knives and even bits of food, especially those from Malaga bay, like mussels.
The Cuevas de La Araña prehistoric park of Malaga
The Cuevas de La Araña prehistoric park began to take shape in 1995; it is an open museum dedicated to prehistory and was created to protect an important part of the city’s history.
Today, the facilities include an information centre, in a municipal building next to the watchtower which was built in 1744, during the reign of Felipe II. The information centre contains a selection of the archaeological discoveries from La Araña: items which are of geological, archaeological, anthropological and palaeontological interest, and which also reflect the climatic changes which have taken place on the planet.
In addition to the exhibition rooms, there are areas where workshops are held and a laboratory which is used to reconstruct the past by studying the data provided from the remains uncovered by the excavations.
In 2006 it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest and an Area of Archaeological Protection. In the same year the ‘Yacimientos de la Araña’ archaeological association was created to run the information centre and organise different activities. These normally focus on three elements: research, training and raising awareness of the heritage of La Araña (Malaga).
There are two different parts to a visit to the prehistoric park of Malaga: first, a visit to the Cuevas de La Araña information centre, and then on to the principal sites in the archaeological complex, which are in the Complejo del Humo.
It can be visited from Monday to Friday, from 10.30am to 3pm. Guided tours can be requested in advance for groups of 10 people or more. Also, people who want to visit the site but are at work during these hours can request a weekend visit, either as individuals or for groups of 10 or more.
Further information is available from the Cuevas de La Araña information centre, the association’s website www.complejohumo.org, or by phoning 952 620 103 or 674 729574.source surinenglish