Set of bone tools from the Cave of El Castillo

Puente Viesgo (Cantabria)

Department of Prehistory

Bone tools including spear points, awls, smoothers, and even musical instruments.
Magdalenian. Upper Paleolithic

State of conservation:

Due to the importance of the Cave of El Castillo in the prehistory of the peninsula, and the quantity and quality of the pieces from the site in the National Archaeological Museum, it was decided to review the collection as a whole and examine its state of conservation.

After an initial visual/tactile analysis, a series of interventions was specified for some of the pieces in the collection. The overall state of conservation is not bad, but some pieces presented small signs of a loss of cohesion, and a few showed traces of dirt, mostly in the form of soil.

These pieces were selected for treatment.


Mechanical cleaning of the pieces using a scalpel and binocular microscope, plus chemical cleaning using distilled water, and a 50% water and alcohol solution.

In some cases the materials were consolidated. This was done for pieces presenting signs of loss of cohesion or extreme friability. These treatments were done using a 5% solution of Paraloid B-72 acrylic resin dissolved in acetone.