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Lezea, the Cave of Sare

Site museum

The site of the caves of Sare includes a free museum allowing to deepen various subjects broached in the cave :

  • the various stages of Human evolution from Prehistory to the present day thanks to information panels and the exposition of relics
  • The role of bats in our environment.
  • The life and work of JM Barandiaran, an eminent prehistorian and Basque ethnologist.
  • A small bonus ... A reminder or introduction to the Basque mythology mentioned during the visit!
Barandiaran Bats Remains Lamin hologram

A part of the site museum is composed of several showcases and explains the evolution of Humans from prehistory to the present day. Starting with the first humans to end with Homo Sapiens Sapiens, but also describing Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus and Neanderthal, you will discover their distribution area as well as their way of life, both of which continuously evolved according to climatic changes. You will also get to know some of the techniques they used to work raw materials.
The excavation carried out within and around the Caves of Sare as well as research works and numerous stories told by the persons living near the area prove that the caves were used for different purposes according to the periods of time.

Though the most ancient traces of human activity in the Basque country date from 200.000 years ago, prehistoric humans momentarily stayed in the Caves of Sare from 35.000 à 10.000 BC.
Used as habitation during prehistory, the Caves of Sare were also used as a haven by people wounded during the wars (Napoleonic wars - 1808-1810, Carlist wars - 1833-1839 and 1872-1876, world war…). They were also used as border-crossing and exchange point for "night work".

Numerous relics are presented in the museum : dating from prehistoric times (flint, antlers, scrapers, chisels, arrowhead arrow heads, stone axes); protohistoric times (human bones, funeral urns, ceramics, bronze axes); and historic times (Roman hoard, counterfeit money, Napoleonic relics).


You will also discover an exhibition dedicated to José Miguel de Barandiaran, eminent Basque prehistorian and ethnologist. During the civil war (1936), he escaped Franco’s Spain and took refuge in Sare during 15 years. Rapidly adopted by the people of the village, he never stopped his research.

The guided-tour with sound and light show of the Caves of Sare is dedicated to him
in acknowledgement of a life devoted to the memory of the Basque people.