Pleistocene-Holocene sites located in the Sierra de Atapuerca, near the city of Burgos.

Fossil remains: Homo sp., Homo antecessor, pre-Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.

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The Sierra de Atapuerca, made up of limestone and dolomite from the Upper Cretaceous, is located about 15 kilometers from the city of Burgos, on the southwestern edge of the Bureba corridor that connects the Ebro valley with the Duero valley. The karst system formed during the Neogene made possible the formation of numerous archaeological and paleontological sites during the Pleistocene and Holocene. The sites have been systematically excavated since 1978 and have provided an exceptional record of several hominin species: Homo sp., Homo antecessor, pre-Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens. Fossils of numerous species of different vertebrates have also been recovered as well as a rich archaeological record from the Lower, Middle and Upper Pleistocene, and the Holocene. The oldest record of human RNA, DNA and proteins has been obtained in H. antecessor (830,000 years) and in the hominins of Sima de los Huesos (430,000 years).

Sierra de Atapuerca's sites were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. In 2015, the World Heritage Committee of this Organization ratified the maximum world protection for the sites, which were awarded the qualification of "Outstanding Universal Value". The most important sites are:

  • Gran Dolina
  • Conjunto de la Covacha de los Zarpazos-Galería
  • Sima del Elefante
  • Sima de los Huesos
  • Cueva Fantasma
  • Portalón de la Cueva Mayor
  • Cueva Mirador
  • Galería de las Estatuas
  • Paredeja
  • Penal