On the lonely Mountain El GABAR, located in the Cordillera Betica, southern Spain, prehistoric man worshiped the sun.
35 years ago four students from the University of Amsterdam, while performing a 3 month fieldwork for their masters theses, were lured by Steef de Clerq to visit the Cueva del Gabar, which was known for its prehistoric paintings. By sheer coincidence, we climbed up the mountain near sunset of the SUMMER SOLSTICE, 21st of June, with a few bottles of wine, and watched the sun go down in the far distance. In my memory, the sun went down EXACTLY while we were in the cave, over the middle of the mountain the La Sagra, by far the highest mountain in the area (2381m).
To feel the excitement again, we climbed last summer (2006) the Gabar, to watch the sun go down again on the 21st of June.................Here is our report.
Tjeerd and I went to Caravaca first to pick up Hubert who came from Jumilla. When he showed up we went to the K/T outcrop, which is worsening due to industrial activities. But nevertheless, the visit was worth a glass of champagne! The red iridium rich layer is still visible but heavily sampled.

We climbed up the North face of the screes of the Gabar and of course we had forgotten how high the Cueva was. It seemed such an easy climb! However, just before sunset we were there and watched the sun go down........

But NOT right over the middle of the Sagra mountain!
Someone must have moved the Sagra in the intervening 35 years.

What had gone wrong? fooled my memory? Sure, in hindsight I saw in 1972 the sun go down after we got back from the cave, since we had to drive back and be in Maria in time for dinner. So I must have seen the sun go down on the way back!
But wait a second, Hubert had the right idea. ?20.000 years ago the tilt of the earth axis must have been very different from now. So may be the sunset could have been right across the Sagra ?20.000 years ago!

Great idea. Now one of our students has to calculate where the sun should go down ?20.000 years ago.

Or may be, even better.
If those prehistoric druids watched the sun set exactly over the mountain, we may even be able to tell how old the cave is when they were watching.


Look here for some possible solutions


Now look here for the foto shoot of the whole journey.


A toast on the K/T boundary of the Barranco del Gredero!
The K/T boundary in the Barranco del Gredero
How sad..... the sun refused to set right across the middle of the Sagra
Midsummer worship of the sun by prehistoric man, in the Paleolithic, ?7.000-42.000 years ago Southern Spain !
The Summer Solstice 21ST OF JUNE EXPERIMENT 2006 (here for images)

After this well-earned drink, we went on to Zarzadilla de Ramos and the Embalse de Valdeinfierno, but we lost the road. So much had been built since 1972! We reached the Embalse, and lost the road again! The road to Maria has almost been abandoned, which made it almost impossible to navigate to the Almoyas and beyond.

With some hair-raising driving along washed-out gullies we finally reached the safe road, and climbed the camino forestal around the Gabar. About time, as sunset was approaching!