Coa Valley Archaeological Park-Article Daily News, by Maria Jose Margarido

“The vale do Coa would, no Upper Palaeolithic, heaven on earth, a place with such a magical microclimate that, this way, Spring resist not espraiar up until September – and with it the mating season among animals. The environment peace and love levou as rock carvings at Coa to exclude all representations of warlike scenes between auroques – ancestors of the oxen -, Goats, bucks, deer and horses, and men with these. In a period dated between 30 a 10 thousand years ago, hunter-gatherers of the valley recorded solitary or loving paintings of everyday life in a stone that did not click with the melting of glaciers Serra da Estrela (****).
Remote pictorial tradition ended only last year, when he died the last artist Coa. Anonymous as their ancestors, only knows that was a miller or pastor and loved to draw, have them in these shale and granite, the Guimarães Castle (*) and the train to cross the bridge.
We are in Canada do Inferno (the name could not be less condicente with the previous reporting), the area that concentrates 90% prints of the highest Archaeological Park of rock art Outdoor World, Perth from Vila Nova de Foz Coa and a little above the river that he named the town. The path to this core prints, one of only three flyable, it is jeep, eight people at a time. The ghost of the dam that António Guterres was persuaded to obstruct, in 1996, accompanies us all the way, a ghost made of cement in some places and improvised marks the level to which water would rise in other – and were more than 200 meters. “This was not just a struggle for prints, was also a struggle for the Portuguese archeology”, ha de dizer Helena Garrido, Host of this shrine 200 square meters for ten years.
The guide is not formed in archeology but made good use of the course provided by the park and ombreia now a mano a mano dialogue with a young Belgian researcher, I doubt that the thesis flower power about the worth. “It is the interpretation of the National Centre of Rock Art, but, being art, is always debatable and subjective”, responds in perfect French when the Belgian archaeologist, with look à Che Guevara, opines that the two horses that seem to mate are overlays of different times. In the way there arises a security, looking closely at a Portuguese emigrant in France, too excited with a cane pointing the figure could finally decipher, touching the stone audibly. Há our securitas this park, working 24 hour, for the eleven guides not remain alone in defense of prints.

The enthusiasm and frustration earlier this emigrant in reading the Paleolithic recordings – Incisions made through filiform, pecking or abrasion – is understandable: for the trained eye of the little common mortal, representations are not evident, with some exceptions. You need to see the records of interpretation that Helen extends, give wings to the imagination and not letting the natural grain of the rock, we always go in a certain direction, distract us. Made with quartz and silicate by these men who lived in tents, the edge of a river that was beginning below and snowy peak in the gentle hills that are now, risks have a strange arbitrariness in its firmness. “It has to do with the applied force and the more or less sharp surface of the object.”Only the blind can now touch them, and these are visits to Helena prefer.
Join this kind of time machine, see the pictures at place where they were made, is invaluable – but also has its costs. Is an unbearable heat in the Coa Valley. Visitors who want to distinguish all animals described já – and even fish, simple signs of occult origin and a rare human figuration, the Robins of Man – asked time, availability and temperature resistance of up to 55 degrees, due to own microclimate zone. An Italian high heels despairs, now doubts the risks and begins to melt the makeup. Helena reveals Garrido already lost four pounds this summer. The woman emigrant begins to feel ill and have to sit. “I did not know that the ticket included a sauna.”
A is of 20 thousand for 12 thousand visitors 2005 is explained by all this: numbers may not be comparable to a museum. Maybe that's why the population,guides, everyone anxious wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Minister of Culture: a museum in 2008. Missing hotel infrastructure and access, say; and the truth is that anyone who comes from Mirandela, the interior, do not even have signs to the park and the village. The oldest art form in the world knows compensate, however, who enjoys: Italian tourist has rubbed his eyes and smudged gives squeals of joy when distinguishes a stylized deer, made just three incisions certeiras, there 30 thousand years ago. Article do DN, by Maria Jose Margarido (24-8-2006)

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