Necropolis of Arteara



For the protohistory of Gran Canaria, it is a frequent occurrence to find large burial mound cemeteries in areas of badlands, taking advantage of the surrounding stones for their elaboration.

The Necropolis of Arteara occupies an area – that is two kilometres long by one kilometre wide. It is located by the village of Arteara, in a spot where the contrast between the green palm trees and hardness of the rocks gives it an unique beauty. For a wide range of reasons, it is one of the essential sights on the island of Gran Canaria


This pre-European burial site is made up of more than a thousand burial mounds. A very high percentage of the structures are simple mounds – i.e. a funerary space protected by a pile of stones (covered tumulus). They are not totally homogeneous, but their adaptation to a terrain means that there are differences between them (isolated mounds, attached to rock outcrops, etc.), some in conical shapes, ovoid, etc. The placement of a single body in each of these structures seems to be the norm, but there are also mounds for more than one individual.




Download the site location for Google Maps – Earth

Kmz Arteara

The burial mounds

The burial mounds

The body was deposited, lying on its back and with arms and legs extended, in a cist made up of large flagstones. This was covered with medium-sized stones, which form the interior of the burial mound, generally in the shape of a truncated cone. The exterior was covered with larger stones.

“The king’s tomb”

King's tomb

This is the name that the locals have given to this burial mound, which occupies a central and pre-eminent position in the site. This burial site is the first to receive the rays of the sun at the dawn of the spring and autumn equinox, a phenomenon described by tradition and confirmed scientifically.

The cist


The disappearance of the superstructure reveals the interior of the tomb. This is reduced to the cist, delimited and covered with stones, where the corpse was deposited. Some remains of woven vegetable fiber have been found, but no objects that were buried with the dead.

Others burials

Others burials

In this area the burial mounds are closer to each other and do not adopt the characteristic shape.

This may be related to the oral tradition that says that some drowned sailors on the nearby coast were buried here, about a hundred years ago, which would explain the differences in the way of burying.

The landslide

The landslide

The stones of the burial mounds come from the landslides of the cliff that can be seen in the background. These reddish-colored phonolite stones, which give the deposit a characteristic hue, have the particularity of being easily fragmented. This makes it easy to use for the construction of graves.

The wall


A wall made of dry stone, which still has some sections preserved, surrounds the entire necropolis. The existence of this defining element reaffirms the symbolic character that Arteara, like the rest of the sepulchral complexes, must have had for the pre-European inhabitants of Gran Canaria.

The farm animal pen

Animal pen

The space occupied by the cemetery was used, in more recent times, for other activities. This pen is one of those that were used to confine domestic cattle. However, we do not know if it already existed in pre-Hispanic times, or what uses it could have had.

The bee-hives


Bee-keeping is about the only use that the villagers have carried out in the burial ground. They were obtained by emptying palm trunks previously cut to the desired size. These hives were placed on a stone base and covered with a slab.

Fataga ravine viewpoint

The viewpoint

The geography of the medium-lower section of the Fataga ravien is marked by the two mountain masses which border it, the cliffs of Amurga to the left and the foothills of Los Vicentes-Ayagaures to the right. The hamlet that sits under the Aserradero palm grove has been the object of progressive abandonment; the presence of archaeological material confirms the existence of a pre-Hispanic settlement in this palm grove.


After the violent landslide of the cliff, plant species had to adapt to a situation where soil became extremely scarce.
Geology, climate and human needs have determined the number of species that we find in this fragile territory, among which there are native species of the island, of the archipelago and imported species.


The necropolis is at first sight an inhospitable and deserted place.
However, life exists and prospers; it is predominantly invertebrate species and birds.

The terrestrial vertebrate fauna is scarce, but no less interesting, the endemic lizard of Gran Canaria stands out as one of the largest of its kind in the world, measuring up to 80 cm.

Interview in Arteara with:

Rose Schlueter Caballero

Enjoy the interview with subtitles in your language on our YouTube channel.
Activate Subtitles and in Settings choose the language.
The initial text of this page is based on the Guía del Patrimonio Arqueológico de Gran Canaria, published by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria.
The texts of the different points of interest are based on the signage of the interpretation center of Arteara, made by Arqueocanaria.
Skip to content