24,000-year-old Palaeolithic engraving from Vale de Boi “one of highlights” of new exhibition

Anyone who has ever driven past the village of Vale de Boi (between Lagos and Sagres) and thought very little of it, should think again.

The tiny hamlet that doesn’t even boast access to its own beach is today “a reference for national and international archaeology, because it documents the most remote human presence known throughout the southern peninsula”.

Who has been explaining Vale do Boi’s extraordinary legacy is archaeologist Ricardo Soares, with reference to a new exhibition on show until October 28 at Vila do Bispo’s Centro de Interpretação.

The show brings together all kinds of archaeological finds documenting the pre-historic origins of the “Reino dos Algarves” – among them a 24,000-year-old engraving on stone depicting animals that look like massive Auroch cattle (now extinct), lions and other exotic animals.

As historian Artur de Jesus told Lusa, the idea of this kind of wildlife existing in the Algarve today “would be unimaginable”.

Organised by the University of the Algarve’s Centre for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour, the exhibition can be seen Monday to Friday, from 9am to 3.30pm.