|| Fifty thousand years ago humans were living in the vicinity of Aralar. Places where humans have lived and their traces: Isturitz, Ganboako Ola, Arrasate, Aslor in the Deba mountain…From these first vestiges things began to get worse. The great glacier period lasted for a lot of years. Humans had to live in caves where the atmosphere tends to be a little warmer. But they needed light and they lit fires at the entrance. They hunted reindeer, buffalo, mountain goats… They had the instruments for that. Many hunters would be needed for the “usaehiza” (the hunt) so that communities would have already been in existence then. The first community was the family. (12:10”) At that time meat was the alimentation for humans. Fruits from the trees were small and, with the exception of acorns, difficult to find. In the residue of the fireplaces bones with holes have been found which suggests that they ate what was inside the bones as well as what was outside them. (13:25”) Religion is a focus point of the human. One focus point alone does not have significance without a relation with the rest. Consequently, in order to understand their religion it is necessary to view their way of life.The tools, at least those made of stone, endured. Beliefs, do not turn into stone, and do not endure. As such, it is difficult to say what religion they had. They collected red stones, crystal, lead minerals etc. Why? Later, in the era of the written word, it has been possible to find a religious focus. In order to understand the ancient world it is necessary to look at the contempory world. It is believed that they had an economic conception. It is believed that that conception was religion. That is to say, they believed that there was some superior being and the precious stones collected were for that being.Neanderthal Man existed then, and this was a different type. Later another being entered Europe and this was Cro-Magnon Man. This being also lived in caves but he was more advanced as were his tools. He made use of the bone. They too had to hunt (“usaehiza”).They needed holes to trap and kill the animals and they would skin them. At this period many things appear which did not exist before; making holes in the teeth of the animals to wear as adornments, drawing the tools they used, drawing the animals they killed. Hunting was their way of life. They applied the characteristics of hunting to other things which had nothing to do with eating or drinking.There were different trades: as well as hunters it was necessary to have tool-makers, as not everyone would have known how to work the stone. There were also painters who did paintings on the walls.
- cave painting
|| Perhaps the base for the religious beliefs lies there. The reasons for relating the drawings to the hunt.Names and characteristics of the caves where the paintings are:In Zuberoa: Etxeberri, Sasiseroaga.The drawings are made in places which are difficult to get to, so that they were not made to be seen but rather had some other purpose.Isturitze, between Zugarramurdi and Urdazubi, Atxerri (in the village of Aia), Ekain (in Zestoa), Goikoa (in Berrio), Santimamiñe, Laperra ( in Arantza).The reason for doing things in those places: some said it was a magic ritual, they would draw the animal that they wanted to capture and the drawing helped bring the animal to them. This opinion has been around a long time. Others said that it was a Totem. That is to say, they would do the drawing from where it had come from. But why hide it so much?Now it is believed that it had a religious base; related to some God or other, signs of praying…As a young man he used to call these drawings “holy ones”. In his opinion the root of the religious beliefs of those times lie here, they are images of Holy Things. Something directed towards the humans and their first needs. The age of the Megalithic occurred around 5,000 years ago. It was the age of stone. What has survived from that period are the graves. It would seem that the dwelling-place of the dead was more important than that of the living (perhaps because of the duration of one and the other). In Euskal Herria there are many dolmens. The Cro-Magnon Man turned into the Basque race. In his opinion the Basque race originated in Euskal Herria. According to the bones found in one of the caves, the bones of the cranium from 7,000 years ago were Basque. Cro-Magnon lived here and evolved in time. Consequently, instead of asking where the Basque race came from, we should ask ourselves why the race emerged in this area. The environment changed, the ice receded and Euskal Herria expanded. When the environment changed man was able to start living outside the caves. The need for living from hunting lessened as animals became domesticated and land began to be cultivated for cereal and fruit. A new background, new locations, new food and an improved condition. All this brought about evolution in mankind. Drawings were made from the same characteristics from about 35,000 years ago to 12,000 years ago. Does that mean that the same beliefs were there during all that time?Possibly so. Evolution took place but some things would have continued the same.