Cu­ri­ous case of stolen cave art bugs Vall de Gallinera

A quar­ter of a cen­tury on, the pre­his­toric paint­ings have never been found

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE - Skett@cb­news.es

By Saman­tha Kett VALL de Gallinera res­i­dents are call­ing for a bizarre 25year-old theft in­quiry to be re­opened and say they have not given up on find­ing their lost trea­sures.

Un­known in­di­vid­u­als hacked out two per­fect squares from a cave wall in Benir­rama, one of the tiny res­i­den­tial 'clus­ters' that make up the Vall de Gallinera vil­lage spread across the val­ley of the same name.

These squares fea­tured paint­ings of Ne­olithic hunter­gath­er­ers, be­lieved to have been cre­ated over 7,000 years ago he anony­mous thieves used a ra­dial saw to get the pic­tures out of the rocky wall, which even in­volved hav­ing to carry a gen­er­a­tor up the cliff face.

Head of Ali­cante Univer­sity's fac­ulty of pre­his­toric stud­ies, Dr Mauro Hernán­dez, dis­cov­ered the miss­ing im­ages in May 1993 and re­ported them to Dé­nia court.

The pro­fes­sor will be giv­ing one of a series of talks this week­end (Novem­ber 10 and 11) run by the Friends of the Vall de Gallinera Cul­tural Union on cave art and pre­his­toric so­ci­ety in the moun­tains of Dià­nia, as the district cov­er­ing the in­land Ma­rina Alta and eastern Al­coià i Com­tat were known in Ro­man times.

Mem­bers of the Cul­tural Union are keen to quiz Dr Hernán­dez on the in­ves­ti­ga­tions car­ried out 25-and-ahalf years ago and to find out how they can get the case re­opened. T The tap wa­ter con­tract signed be­tween Ori­huela coun­cil and the com­pany Hidraqua signed in 1988 and all its re­newals are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by a judge due to a re­port sub­mit­ted to the prose­cu­tion ser­vice by the Cam­biemos Ori­huela party. Cam­biemos Ori­huela coun­cil­lors Javier Gra­cia and Car­los Bern­abé pointed out that Hidraqua was named Aquagest a few years ago and they are the same com­pany. They re­vealed that the con­tract had been re­newed for 10 years in 2001 and in 2004 it had been re­newed again for 20 years un­til 2038, which ‘is very odd’. The coun­cil­lors high­lighted that tap wa­ter price in­creases and the com­pany’s prof­its were ‘un­clear’ and that fund­ing to re­pair, im­prove and ex­tend the ex­ist. ing tap wa­ter and sewage net­work had been car­ried out in an ‘un­clear way’. “The money comes from the fees home­own­ers pay, but the works are not su­per­vised by the coun­cil,” they said. The judge has or­dered the coun­cil to sub­mit copies of a series of doc­u­ments to the court and warned that the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched. “We hope the coun­cil pro­duce the doc­u­ments and do not hin­der the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said the coun­cil­lors.

Photo: An­gel Gar­cía

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