The nuclei of the Coa engravings are cultural heritage of humanity
The Coa Valley region (Foz Côa, Portugal) has one of the longest cycles of rock art known in Europe, with images recorded and/or painted on since the Upper Paleolithic.
The amazing quality of art created in the ice age, from 25,000 years ago, gave fame to the region, either by the high number of engravings - over 1000 rock engravings spread over 72 locations are cataloged - which forms the largest Museum of Natural Rock Art, either by the impressive beauty and aesthetic originality of many of them.
The discovery of the engravings has also being contributing to significant advances in the knowledge of Paleolithic Art, better clarifying certain aspects of knowledge, reviewing and/or refuting old theories or creating new ways of interpretation.
The Palaeolithic Art of Coa combines traditional and modernity, both the invention of animation figures with more than one head, or the use of particularisms of schistous supports in the search of three-dimensionality, and also diverse set of artistic solutions shown in many of the panels chronicled of this long artistic period. These and other aesthetic attributes are elements that contribute to an affirmation of modernity of Paleolithic Art of Coa. (António Martinho Batista, Director of the Coa Valley Archaeological Park)
The classification of nuclei engravings as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in December 1998 marked indelibly in Portugal the status Rupestrian Art, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage.
How can the engravings be shown?
How can we show, to a wide audience, the rock engravings of the Coa Valley? How to display this fabulous archaeological, artistic and cultural heritage of Portugal and Humanity and urging to his discovery and understanding?
The Coa 3D virtual world and the passage “secret”
The Coa 3D is our response in the form of a virtual environment that tried to meet these goals in two ways. On the one hand to give a perspective of the Coa Valley as it exists today, the present day Coa, with rocks and engravings, and on the other hand to show the Coa Valley in prehistoric times (Upper Paleolithic) with the environment, the animals and the life of the primitive population of the time.
There are two distinct representations of the same physical space in two periods separated by 25,000 years. It’s possible to travel from one period to the next knowing "the secret" that is only revealed to visitors that are more attentive to the indications in the 3D world.
It is presented below a very brief description of what each user will have a chance to experiment on both "worlds".
The Present Day Coa
There are several locations in the Coa region that can be visited through guided tours provided by the archaeological park. The Canada do Inferno route has a high historical symbolism for being the first site to be discovered, so it was chosen as inspiration to develop the Coa 3D project that, although it uses some of the real elements such as the terrain and the rocks, is a artistic and fictional recreation.
On the Present Day Coa route, the user can explore some of the most representative existing engravings in that area. It is also possible to travel the surrounding environment of the river, its attractions, explorations and ... secrets.
One of these explorations, not revealed to the most hasty and inattentive visitors, allows you to discover the secret of the travel into the time of the artists who created the engravings.
The Paleolithic Coa
The secret passage takes the visitor to Prehistory. This world is quite different from the previous one. It's still the ice age, the climate and lighting are different, and it also seen by animals and plants. One can visit the typical Paleolithic man camp with tents, furs, fire and ... even observe some of the artist carving into the rocks.
Educational explorations and individual and group visits to Coa 3D
Apart from the aspects mentioned before, the Coa 3D presents itself to the visitor as a multiuser virtual world (with technology Babelx3d/Abnet technology) and in this sense it can be operated individually - has useful pointers, diverse infos, and even information poles with audio near the carved rocks - but it can also be exploited in group (each visitor is represented by an avatar), and might even include a organized visit with an expert guide.
The Present Day Coa and Paleolithic Coa, although based on research, real objects and elements obtained or given by various persons and entities are fictional and artistic recreations imagined by the Coa 3D team members, and it’s their sole responsibility.