Completed Project

La Garma

Cantabria, Spain

The cave of La Garma is a unique archaeological site that boasts an impressive collection of rock art and archaeological remains from the Paleolithic age. It is part of the world-renowned network of karst caves located in Cantabria in Northern Spain, included on the World Heritage List as Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain. La Garma is the name of the mountain nestled in Sierra Calobra where five levels of caves have been discovered to date. The Lower Gallery, discovered in 1995, contains the largest example of Paleolithic floors in the world, in an extraordinary state of conservation. A landslide approximately 15,000 years ago sealed the cave and kept the ancient remains mostly intact through the years. The rock art in La Garma and the surrounding caves make up one of the best archaeological sequences in Europe, with evidence of human activity spanning over 300,000 years, up until the Middle Ages.

Patronage by renowned shoe designer to conserve and promote La Garma

Two decades after the rediscovery and initial study of the Lower Gallery at La Garma, scientists saw the need for additional study of the cave’s underground system—its microclimate and microbiology—and assessment of the state of conservation of the rock art. With support from American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, who has been producing shoes in Spain since the 1970s, World Monuments Fund is working on a project to conserve and promote La Garma. A multidisciplinary team of experts will study the cave´s ecosystem and archaeological remains. An assessment of the state on conservation of the art forms and floors of the cave will inform the development of a conservation plan.

In order to allow the public to explore the cave’s interior while protecting the fragility of its environment, the Stuart Weitzman Foundation, in collaboration with WMF, funded the production of a virtual reality tour of the cave. Last January, Forbes magazine included Memoria: Stories of La Garma among the 50 top VR experiences of 2019.

Last updated: July 2021.

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