The native burial site of Villaverde's Cave dates from the XII-XIII's century
The Ayuntamiento of La Oliva has confirmed its commitment to preserving the archaeological heritage of the municipality and of Fuerteventura by investing in the research and promotion of Villaverde's Cave. Inside this volcanic tube, discovered in 1979, they discovered the most interesting native burial site as well the as remains of a village whose importance is confirmed three decades after the research was abandoned. This archaeological site declared Asset of Cultural Interest was occupied for 1.500 years (from the 3rd Century until the 18th Century), dates that the research will try to confirm, which means that the Cave of Villaverde is a native village of reference in the Canaries. The last archaeological research carried out in 2018 was promoted by the Cultural Heritage Department of the Canarian Government and for the second phase, scheduled for next summer, the Ayuntamiento of La Oliva will be involved and this time, not only to provide the space (the cave is located in a municipal plot) but with an investment in order to co-finance the project. A burial site from the 12th or 13th Century and a house from the 8th Century The dating of the bones from individual 1, a man in his forties who was buried with a four-year-old child, located in a strange position on the head of the adult, has confirmed that this burial corresponds to the native culture and dates back from the 12th or 13th Centuries. Those studies were carried out by Arenisca Arqueología a company that resumed the research by request of the Cultural Heritage Department, three decades after the last excavations were done in 1988.
According to the director of the project, the archaeologist Rosa López, “the bones from the burial site were dated for the first time. The bones of the adult male were sent to be analysed in a laboratory in Miami”. The exterior structures might even be older, “with carbon-14 dating of bones from goats and ashes, we were able to find out that the oldest structures analysed in this phase could correspond to a house from the 8th Century”.
The team from Arenisca has recovered thousands of fragments (300 bags of material) that still have to be analysed. Amongst the remains, there are seashells, animal bones such as goats, sheep and even pigs, which is a novelty and quite interesting, as well as marine animals such as fish and cetaceans, as well as a great quantity of ashes that confirm a lengthy occupation. Regarding the material culture, they found ceramics, refined manufacturing tools and even decorative elements that indicate that it was a complex society.
During the excavation in the eighties, they also discovered bones form monks seals, the cave of Villaverde being the only one where such remains were found. Second phase. Searching for historical conclusions In the project that was approved by La Oliva's Ayuntamiento to co-finance together with the Canarian Government the second phase of the research, that will take place for five months from June 2019 onwards, Arenisca Arqueología has proposed to go ahead with important novelties. As with the first phase, the project will concentrate on the promotion side. All the procedure of excavation is documented on a webpage with multimedia contents and virtual visits. The information will be completed and updated on www.yacimientocuevadevillaverde.org