The second excavation campaign carried out at the Cova dels Diablets, located in the municipality of Alcalà de Xivert (Castellón), financed by the town council and directed and coordinated by the Castellón Provincial Council and the Universitat Jaume I, has made it possible to recover remains from prehistoric human burials that correspond mainly to the first half of the 3rd millennium BC, that is, approximately 4,800 years ago.
The intervention has also recovered remains of handmade ceramics, in some cases with complex decorations from Neolithic times, and flint tools and ornamental elements, mainly necklace beads that would have accompanied the deceased buried in the cave. In addition, elements have been found that confirm the presence of levels older than this use of the Cova dels Diablets as a funerary tomb.
This campaign is part of the new stage of excavations that began last year, in which, after more than twenty years without any kind of action, archaeological research was resumed at this important prehistoric site in the Sierra de Irta, with the aim of obtaining new data to learn more about the various occupations that took place in this cave throughout prehistoric times.
As the research team explains, the excavation process in this type of intervention is slow and meticulous. The remains obtained have to be studied and analysed in detail in the laboratory, so more campaigns and specific studies will be necessary to obtain more specific results about these human groups from Alcalà de Xivert’s past.
In this sense, the researchers point out that the execution of this type of research interventions, as in the case of the Cova dels Diablets, is very complex and requires a very precise method of intervention and the participation of different specialists to obtain as much information as possible and guarantee the scientific quality of the results. “This action is being carried out thanks to a collaboration between different institutions, which are involved in supporting and giving continuity to the work in order to advance scientific knowledge of the prehistory of the area, specifically of the last human groups of hunter-gatherers and the first farmers and stockbreeders of the Serra d’Irta”, they explain.
Specifically, the fieldwork has been financed by the Alcalà de Xivert Town Council, through a specialised company, while the management and coordination of the research team, the technical material, the study of the materials, as well as the administrative and analytical tasks are carried out by the Archaeological and Prehistoric Research Service of the Castellón Provincial Council, under Gustau Aguilella, and the Prehistoric Archaeology Laboratory of the Universitat Jaume I, under Dídac Roman.
It is worth recalling that the Cova dels Diablets is located within the maximum protection zone of the Serra d’Irta Natural Park. Therefore, in order to carry out the work it was essential to follow specific guidelines and obtain permits from the Park’s management and the relevant body of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition. In addition, the Natural Park also collaborates in the actions by carrying out the conditioning of the access and guiding all those activities that may affect the conservation of the environment.