La Roca dels Moros-El Cogul Cave Paintings
Visit the new website to get to know the cave paintings of the Roca dels Moros, take a virtual tour with a unique level of detail, quality and information
Navigate the three-dimensional model of the rock and look at the figures in the new digital chalk of the rock complex.
Recent archaeological research carried out on the set of rock art paintings at El Cogul Roca dels Moros has uncovered new, hitherto unknown figures that provide new data on the scenes depicted and improve our knowledge of the pictorial techniques used. The results can be viewed at a new website that provides virtual tours of the entire pictorial complex.
The research project entitled El Cogul Roca dels Moros: Research and Digital Photographic Documentation of Engravings and Paintings, launched and funded by the Department of Culture in 2019 in ordeer to broaden our knowledge of this unique set of prehistoric art in the country and to have an accurate sample of the current state of the paintings and engravings in Roca dels Moros, has been conducted by Dr Albert Rubio and Dra Ramon Viñas. Both researchers and leading specialists in the study of rock art representations, they have made important contributions to the study and iconographic and symbolic significance of the artistic manifestations of rock art, specifically of the paintings and engravings at El Cogul Roca dels Moros.
The research has helped to obtain, on the one hand, new information about the characteristics of the paintings, in addition to the appearance of new images and new parts of already known images, as well as helping to improve knowledge on the creative processes that this site underwent. On the ohter hand, the research project has additionally included obtaining an accurate image of the rock art site at the present time, thereby providing a stable version of the paintings, which is essential not only for their documentation, but also for their preservation in the future.
The following has been used to acquire this new image:
This DStretch plug-in has been designed towork with digital images, highlighting pigment tones through the use of colour equalisation parameters. The software helps to differentiate tonalities that are practically imperceptible in initial photography, thereby making it possible to observe details that are quite faint, as well as occasionally to recover images that were unnoticeable or almost lost. This technique has helped to identify new painted motifs and recognise previously unseen techniques in the application of colour.
In terms of new information in the paintings, the following unknown figures have appeared: remains of a new bovid, remains of what is perhaps an animal, remains of a cervid, remains of an already known bovid, new remains indicating the presence of a second superimposed female figure and new remains indicating the presence of an anthropomorphic figure and new quadruped.
New figures: 6-9. / Improved definition of bull snouts and human figures 13 and 14. / Figure 18 as perhaps a seated human digure. / Definition of brown profile of bull 20.
New evidence of technical and formal details has also emerged and this has allowed us to better define represented parts of the bovids and cervids as well as human remains. Particular noteworthy are the restorations, repainting or two-tone combinations of brown-black, reddish-brown and black of the human figures: the diagonal stripes with reddish-brown on the black of the skirts and black profiles. Also noteworthy is the necklace or pouch of one of the figures, which in the past was interpreted as the woman's chest and which reinforces the presence of ritual ornaments. The phallic sheath of another figure, interpreted in previous works as a penis or distintive feature, has likewise been identified.
In terms of the engravings, new groupings with geometric elements, perhaps animal remains (some of prehistoric appearance) and graffiti from various periods (between Iberian and medieval), have been recorded in the centre-left sector of the rock shelter.
As for the new current image of the set of images, a new digital tracing has been produced based on high resolution photography using the technique of photogrammetry. The new tracing surpasses the last version from 1985, as it includes the images discovered during the research and provides the most accurate and detailed image of the paintings. Togetehr with the new 3D model and digital retouching techniques, it has been converted into a flat background onto which the figures from Roca dels Moros have been incorporated. This process has helped to construct as faithful a tracing as possible without altering the paintings of the rock art site.
Group of rock art paintings of Catalonia from the Archaeology Service (R. Viñas, A. Alonso and E. Sarrià, 1985).
Digital tracing of El Cogul Roca dels Moros, Department of Culture (A. Rubio, R. Viñas, J. Salguero and Ll. González, 2022).
The 3D model of El Cogul Roca dels Moros provides an accurate 3D digital model of the rock that will be used for future applications - both for the conservation and dissemination of this space - such as the creation of a copy of the rock, an analysis of its condition or the creation of models and digital resources of the rock.
Heritage dissemination project
Once the research had been finalised, the Catalan Agency of Cultural Heritage developed a website project to inform the general public of the results of the research and where El Cogul Roca dels Moros can be visited virtually to access the most up-to-date information on the rock art site stemming from the results of the conducted research. This resource provides an online tour with a unique level of detail, quality and information.
Browsing through the website offers two types of tours. One option is an immersive guided tour around the mural in which the user is transported along the various figures that appear in Roca dels Moros and in which basic information is provided to learn more about the site. The second option is a self-guided tour in which the user selects the images of the mural directly. Selecting an image reveals the following information: name of the figure, description of the element, period in which it was painted, artistic style, pictorial technique, size and colour and associated images. This type of tour also allows visitors to break down the mural and select figures by using a variety of filters, such as type of element, type of figure, period, style and process of creation.
It also has a section that includes and summarises the history of the research that has been carried out at El Cogul Roca dels Moros since 1908, and another section that provides more interpretative clues about the meanings of the paintings represented and the sacred or ritual nature of the space in which they are located.