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Bentayga "Beyond the Beaches of Gran Canaria"
October 29, 1999

[image]Besides providing natural fortification, Bentayga's soft rock is ideal for carving out caves to use for living, for storage, and for burial. In the vertical cliffs, the natives constructed cave dwellings using tools such as stone picks and wooden poles, enlarging natural openings to meet their needs. The caves were of various designs--square, retangular, or irregular, with additional rooms off to the sides with shelves or storage silos cut into the walls. Many had walled entrances and platforms on the outside.

Left: South face of Roque Bentayga where the largest number of caves, 104, has been found

   Roque Bentayga was also one of the high places used for worship, where offerings were made to assure rain. At the top of the rock is a type of shrine, called an almagorén. It can be reached by the eastern face following a narrow pathway. The shrine is made up of a complex system of channels and hollows carved on two platforms joined together by a central basin. The carvings were used to give offerings in fertility rituals. The rock also could have been a place to consult the stars to know when to plant crops. The area is surrounded by a stone wall, thought possibly to have been built to protect the space from the profane world. Similar carvings are found near Telde.

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© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America