La Zarza Rock Carvings

August 14, 2017

One of the best archaeological sites on La Palma is La Zarza and La Zarzita, in Garafía. You have to walk, but it’s a beautiful stroll through woods of heather and bayberry trees. Yes, heather is a tree here – see the top photo. The whole walk takes about an hour, and first bit of the path is the steepest. It’s clearly signposted. You reach La Zarza first. Here there…

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Lomo Estrecho

The ancient rock carving at Lomo Estrecho, El Paso, La Palma
July 22, 2017

I went for a walk to Lomo Estrecho. Starting from the Caldera visitor centre, you take the LP 302 towards the better-known Cumbrecita car park, but instead of taking the turning to Cumbrecita you carry on as far as you can go in a normal car, or about 1 km beyond that to the recycling bins if you’re in a 4×4. From there you walk up the track marked “Pista…

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Archaeology at the Roque de los Muchachos

A spiral rock carving, Roque de los Muchachos, Garafia, La Palma
April 17, 2017

For centuries, goatherds have brought their flocks to the Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point on the island of La Palma. As the lower pastures dried out in summer, they moved to fresh pastures on higher ground. These days, farmers can drive home for the night, but of course that wasn’t the case 50 years ago, much less 500 years ago. They came up some time in June, and…

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Los Llanos’s Ethnographic museum(MAB) – permenent exhibition

The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita, and they’re the subject of the permanent exhibition upstairs at the ethnographic museum in Los Llanos. The Benahorita lived in caves and wore animal skins, but they weren’t stupid. They farmed, and they had quite a bit of technology considering there’s no metal ores on the island. Their ceramics are…

January 24, 2017
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Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in Mazo

October 16, 2016

  Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it’s open to the public. The entrance is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

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Equinox sunrise behind the Roque

Sunrise behind the Roque de Los Muchachos at the equinox
September 21, 2016

  A remarkable number of the archeological sites on La Palma line up with astronomical calendar events: particularly sunrise or sunset at the solstice or equinox, and the rising and setting of the star Canopus. In 2013 I went with a group of friends to one of these sites to see the sun rise behind the highest point of the island, the Roque de Los Muchachos. It meant an early start,…

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