Angelica Van Iperen, Principal
1041 Marion St., St. Paul, MN 55117
Office (651) 290-8354| Get Directions
Maria Sanz de Sautuola was born in Northern Spain on November 30 1870. She was the only child of a wealthy nobleman and his wife who owned an estate near the city of Santander. The mountainous are where the Sanz de Sautuolas’ estate was located was known as Altamira, meaning “high view.”
Shortly before Maria’s birth a hunting dog had discovered a cave on the Sanz de Sautuolas’ property- although it may be more accurate to say that the cave found the dog. The animal was roaming the countryside with its master when it suddenly disappeared into a crevice in a hillside. As the hunter rescued his barking dog he saw that the crevice was actually a cave opening that had been obscured by dirt and twigs. The hunter told Maria’s father, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola about the cave on his property. Marcelino had little interest at first because the mountains of northern Spain had many caves. Not until 1875, when Maria was five years old did Marcelino clear the debris from the entrance and began to explore.
In 1877 Mari’s father traveled to Paris, France, where he attended a convention of archeologists- scientists who study the remains of past human cultures. The scientists were excited about some skeletons that had recently been fond in the Cro-Magnon Cave in France. The skeletons belonged to a prehistoric people who strongly resembled modern humans and who had lived in various locations in Europe, Asia and Africa from 40,000 years ago to about 10,000 years ago. These prehistoric relatives were named the Cro-Magnon, in honor of the cave in which their remains were first found. Marcelino wondered, Might Cro-Magnon people have lived in the cave on my property thousands of years ago?
When he returned home from Paris, Marcelino decided to dig around inside his cave. But he found the digging to be lonely work so his wife suggested that Maria keep him company. The lively six-year-old with short brown hair
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Angelica Van Iperen, Principal | 1041 Marion St., St. Paul, MN 55117 | Office (651) 290-8354, Fax (651) 290-8357 | Get Directions