|1/2. A home and a grave (Image: Lawrence Guy Straus)|
Some 19,000 years ago, a woman was coated in red ochre and buried in a cave in northern Spain. What do her remains say about Paleolithic life in western Europe?
SHE was privileged to have a tombstone, and her grave may have been adorned with flowers. But the many who, for millennia after her death, took shelter in El Mirón cave in northern Spain must have been unaware of the prestigious company they were keeping. Buried in a side chamber at the back of the cave is a very special Palaeolithic woman indeed.
Aged between 35 and 40 when she died, she was laid to rest alongside a large engraved stone, her body seemingly daubed in sparkling red pigment. Small, yellow flowers may even have adorned her grave 18,700 years ago – a time when cave burials, let alone one so elaborate, appear to have been very rare. It was a momentous honour, and no one knows why she was given it.
"It's an area in the cave right where people were living," says Lawrence Guy Straus at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Along with Manuel González Morales of the University of Cantabria, Straus has been leading the excavation of El Mirón for 19 years. "It's not hidden away. This person in death was kind of presiding over the activities of her people."
Actualización 06-04-15: El misterioso y único entierro de una mujer que vivió hace 19.000 años | EL PAÍS
Encuentran en la cueva de El Mirón, en Cantabria, los restos de una mujer de unos 35 años pintados de rojo, un tratamiento que casi nadie recibía en el Pleistoceno en Europa...
Actualización 28-04-15: Vídeo. "La Dama Roja" de la cueva de El Mirón - Telecantabria (Ver a partir del min. 21:36)
Actualización 16-05-15: Audio.La DamaRoja, 19.000 años enterrada en el Mirón - Rtve (A partir del min. 4:10).