In 1880 this brief work, almost a pamphlet, first brought the existence of cave art from the Upper Palaeolithic to the attention of the world. Its author, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, was one of the first researchers of the pre-historic age in the Iberian Peninsula. In 1879 he discovered the paintings in the Cave of Altamira and attributed them to the people who had inhabited the cave during the Palaeolithic era.
The magnificence of this art left the scientific community unable to understand, as most scientists considered it inconsistent with the reduced intellectual capacity that was then supposed of the human groups alive during the Stone Age. Its discovery would not be recognised until 1902.
This copy was acquired by the Spanish state through its exercise of the right of first refusal during a public auction at the Sala Durán on 20 December 2005, and assigned to the Altamira National Museum and Research Centre.
SANZ DE SAUTUOLA, M. (1880): Breves apuntes sobre algunos objetos prehistóricos de la Provincia de Santander. Santander: imp. y lit. de Telesforo Martínez.
BOE nº 39,15 de febrero de 2006. Resolución de asignación al Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigación de Altamira en BOE número 39 con fecha del 15 de febrero de 2006, página 6089.
In 2004 a facsimile edition with commentary, containing versions in various languages, was published.
Each version contains: