Rock art

La Covatina


Vilafranca (Els Ports, Castelló)

Other names

Covatina del Tossalet del Mas de Rambla; Abric del Barranc de Les Carabasses.

Field work

2011-2013, 2015


The La Covatina site was discovered in 1971 by the school teacher Salvador Gómez Bellot, who publicised it as the “Covatica del Gran Pájaro” (Little Cave of the Large Bird) a name referring to one of the figures, which reminded him of an ostrich. This interpretation has been maintained for years, recurrently describing this figure as a bird of prey and even integrating it into a hunting scene. Today we know that it is a partially preserved female figure.

La Covatina is on the left bank of Les Carabasses ravine. It consists of twin shelters, about 31 m long, 4 m deep and 4.8 m high. The left-hand rock shelter is divided into two cavities and all the Levantine motifs identified to date are concentrated in these. In neither of these two cavities has any evidence of human occupation, apart from the paintings, been found, as is also the case for most of the Levantine groups.

More than 30 figures are preserved in La Covatina, including archers, other human figures (including two women) and perhaps the remains of an animal. These include the female figure traditionally interpreted as a bird, and a running archer on which details such as the musculature of the legs, the bow and arrows, a peculiar hairstyle (or headdress), and even details of his clothing, can be seen.



Gómez, S. (1971) Nuevas pinturas rupestres en el Término de Villafranca del Cid. Actas del I Congreso de Histoira del País Valenciano, II. Valencia.

Mesado, N. (1989) Las pinturas rupestres de la ‘Covatina del Tossalet del Mas de la Rambla,Vilafranca, Castellón. Lucentum, VII-VIII: 35-56.

Domingo et al. (in press 2021). Multidisciplinary and integral approaches to rock art as strategy for rock art conservation: La Covatina site as case study. In A. Batarda, M. Marshall & I. Domingo (eds.) Open-air rock art conservation and management: a further state of affairs. Roudlege.

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