The First Populace

The evidence pointing to the first presence of a populace in what is now Asturies situates them around 100,000 years ago, a date which enables us to build an idea of the culture then prevalent based on many materials found over a wide territorial radius, mainly along the coast and in the central basin, and following valleys in search of areas favourable to hunting, forraging and habitation. This was between the lesser and mid paleolithic periods.

This populace consolidated itself throughout the mid paleolithic period(80,000 -35,000 BY), and the process may be studied thanks to materials found in caves, along river basins and on beaches, with the first appearance of instruments made from bones. It is, however, in the greater paleolithic (35,000 - 10,000 BY) when the presence of horno sapiens sapiens begins to leave important traces in their occupation of caves and other shelters, in the form of large numbers of fossil and bone tools, along with an artistic legacy of great importance connected to that of other areas along the Cantabrian coast and in France. Asturies is the most western point in Europe at which paleolithic art may be found today, consisting of parietal themes based on animals and anthropomorphic signs and depictions, a kinetic art of great brilliance.

The natural landscape in Asturies began to acquire its actual form at the end of the glacial period, between the tenth and fourth milleniums, with the establishment of the coastal line and the extension of the atlantic forest. This was when the epipaleolithic cultures the Azilense and the Asturiense appeared V the central and eastern coastal areas, a time of important cultural changes in which art was reduced to domestic objects fashioned from bone, or horn, especially in the form of rounded painted borders directly related to those discovered by Piette in the Mas d'Azil, which disappeared during the Asturiense period, the most characteristic implements surviving from this culture being the so-called picos asturienses employed for the collection of shellfish, as is testified by the remains of limpets, mussels and limpets which have been found in abundance in the areas studied.