The mystery of Camp dels Ninots
Despite being an unknown to many tourist routes in the province of Girona, more focused on coastal areas, El Camp dels ninots (dolls field) is one of the most important archaeological sites in Catalonia, and the Iberian Peninsula Overall, due to the impressive fossil remains discovered inside enjoying a remarkable state of preservation.
The originality of his name is given by the capricious forms taken by the opal stones that abound in the area and are traditionally known as "ninots" (puppets).
Located in the failure of Massanet-Caldes, in the region of La Selva, this ancient crater 650 x 1000 meters in diameter starred in one of the eruptions that suffered the province of Girona during periods of Neogene and Quaternary (it was Cenozioca). Few geologically unstable area, volcanoes erupted first in the Empordà area, to continue in La Selva and end in the Garrotxa.
After erupt over five million years ago, the volcano of La Selva belongs to the Pliocene age, a period that coincides with the opening of the Mediterranean and the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar. In fact, several studies consider that the eruption was caused by the introduction of water in it, which connected with spotlights internal magma.
The county water
And the volcano was an immense lake for long periods of its history, probably with islands inside. In addition, its special geological location has been equipped with remarkable singularities with respect to the other two faults, even though all three have experienced similar geological epochs.
Being in the heart of the two major bones of the Catalanides, it has undergone major geological forces that produced a collapse in its southern part which even today can be seen in the shaft Sta. Coloma - Riudarenas - Sils - Vidreras - Maçanet north and Caldes de Malavella, an area for millions of years was flooded by lakes and ponds.
Another feature is its isolation, responsible for that still perviva part in the lake Sils. As they say, this lake became bigger than Catalunya itself, although difficult to imagine today. No wonder he is associated with Egypt to note that just as important the Nile to this country, is the lake Sils.
This feature leads to another specific feature, having been subject to periodic invasive stages of marine waters through the pit of Empordà. As we say, even though La Selva was isolated, both north and south, the waters that filled the great ampurdanesa tank overflowed and reached there by creating areas of marine water.
The huge pit bore fruit to a large number of volcanoes, among them Sant Corneli, the Crosa de Sant Dalmai, Castle Hostalric and, above all, the Camp dels ninots.
Although the first geological work dating back to 1882, with the help of Dr. Lluís M. Vidal, has been thanks to the research of Arqueològica Association of Girona, continuing after the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona and the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Human and Social Evolution (IPHES), who found fossils of plants, mammals, large and small, as well as other aquatic animals and insects.
This has left researchers with open mouth, especially if we consider that he had never met so many remains of Pleistocene in the same area and in an exceptional state of preservation. As if this were not enough, we also have located the remains of hominid tools to corroborate settlements of our ancestors at that time.
These discoveries have provided information on the climate in the (much more temperate, 5ºC lower and wetter than today) Europe, environment and fauna in the moments before the appearance of Homo. And is that the contribution of Camp dels ninots information regarding the changes suffered by the planet in the interglacial era (and that changed the course of human evolution) is incalculable.
Why all animals have appeared integers?
There is no denying that the conditions of Lake Camp dels ninots were optimal for both animal and plant life. The characteristics of the water, with a very strong mineralization due to the presence of the volcano, allowed excellent preservation of any body falling on his extensive lagoon.
Thanks to this water quality have appeared complete skeletons of a rhinoceros three bovine (a now defunct and little known species on the continent) and tapir (the most complete known in Europe). Besides other smaller animals such as rodents, hedgehogs, birds, turtles, amphibians, reptiles and insects.
However, the most striking is the fact that all entire skeletons have appeared and in the same time period. From which it follows that happened an extraordinary phenomenon, as it is a natural disaster, which killed so explosive, perhaps due to gaseous emanations of the volcano.
Although at present the failure poses no danger (at least in the long term, since volcanoes never stop being active), the crater gives the waters of a thermal functionality that characterizes them by its temperature and chemical composition comes from inside the earth. As demonstrated by the number of spas that have proliferated in the area in recent years.
In fact, note the Roman Baths of Sant Grau, monument of national interest that is held in such good condition that the mechanisms of water from its springs still even work.
Caldes de Malavella
And the history of this town is closely linked to the thermal waters that run through the subsoil. Located on an old thermal enclave of the Roman Empire, its remains can still be seen in the streets of Caldes de Malavella. In fact, its name comes from the Roman "Aquae Calidae" (warm water), to which was added "Malavella" (malavieja) in reference to a woman, seems to be very ugly and old, who lived in the castle of St. Maurice.
However, it was not until 1840 when the first modern building for the thermal baths, under the name of "Els Bullidors", in what would be the precedent of existing spas twentieth century modernist architecture built.
The development of this municipality was thus inevitably linked to water, just as all economic activities in the area would slowly going to the hot springs until they begin to sell mineral water, in what will be a new service on the thirties. This emerging selling water instead encourage the industry in subsequent years.