The Cave of Tito Bustillo

Palaeolithic treasure in Ribadesella

The cave of Tito Bustillo is one of the greatest sanctuaries of European Paleolitic Art.This is a cave connecting with other caves forming a whole. They are all made of lime and they also house grottos that were temporarily inhabited by the prehistoric men. However, Ribadesella, was not only a temporal prehistoric sanctuary, but also one of the most important places to see the growth of the paleolitic civilization.


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Generation after generation in the surroundings of the river Sella, this civilization lasted during 25.000 years. The new findings and the jewels of this paleolitic culture are all around. Only in the main cave of Tito Bustillo between 50 and 60 new figures have been recently found, an important legacy for the Western culture and history.

All this civilization is a kind of virtual map located in one of the estatuaries of the river Sella, in the village of Ribadesella.

The importance of this paleolitical deposit of Ribadesella is comparable to those three most important of the world. These are La Gama and El Castillo in the Cantabrian region, (North of Spain) and Les Eyzies in France.

In the famous galeria de los Caballos one can find several figures engraved over the rocks. These carvings correspond to the big horses, bisons and reindeers that were living during that glacier period. Due to the technique and style of these carved figures, we can consider them as contemporary.

An interesting point to mention is the amount of carvings with sexual motives that appear on the cave of Tito Bustillo or in the mass of Ardines.

These phallic representations are the first token of masculine sex depicted in rock art. The interpretation of these representations are kept by the historian, Rodrigo de Balbín, a man in charge of following the archeological interpretations round the cave of Tito Bustillo. The interpretation of this masculine sex is based on the findings of some penis shaped objects made by paleolitic man with material from stalagmites in the cave of Lloseta. To find this sexual material with reference to the prehistoric male serves to increase the importance of the last findings in Ardines, which is now worldly known. Up to this date we have never had any proof of this simbology, but if it existed nobody had found it before. This is the opinion maintained by the historian.

The central stalagmite is one metre and a half tall and is painted with ferric oxide which gives it a red colour. It clearly represents, itself as a symbol of sex and sexual motives, and the red colour serves to make appear the rock vivid.

The cavern of la Lloseta is located in the superior part of the cave of Tito Bustillo. Both caves are connected through an open hole. La Lloseta, on the other hand, is located 300 metres along from the singular Camarín de las Vulvas, and space where the prehistoric men simbolized the women’s fertility. This is one of the few female sexual findings of this rock art known by the academics.

Those last findings help to enforce a new theory about the cultural longevity of the riosellano paleolitic. The antiquity of the new paintings is around 25000 years and this shows that the first inhabitants of Ribadesella were living there for a period of more than 18000 years, without counting the rest of the years that would show those 25000 years preceding the birth of Christ.

At present, it is necessary to put the corpus of findings in order to provide an updated vision of it as a whole. It is also necessary to improve on the knowledge we have of that age, helping in this sense to reach a greater appreciation. The present infrastructures to the cave and the lack of good museum installations, have limited the number of visitors per day and year. For that reason, in Ribadesella a citizenship platform exists for the defense of this patrimony and its cultural growth.

Booking Tito Bustillo

902 306 600.

Open from March 16 to October 30, 2016.

click here

*If you filed your reservation online, you will receive an email that must be validated within 12 hours for it to take effect.

* The acquisition of the tickets will be made at the reception of Rock Art Center with a minimum of 30 minutes compared with the time reserved visit. If the tickets are not withdrawn within this time the Centre will have them and the customer will lose all rights reserve.


Coordenadas Latitud: 43.4578781 Longitud: -5.0673580

Información de interés:

Visits can be made from Wednesday to Sunday, with ten flights daily between 10:15 hours and 17:00 hours.

Monday and Tuesday, the cave is closed. These visits, with last approximately 45 minutes , are limited to a maximum of 15 people per pass.

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