When it feels like we know the world around us all too well, and there are few things that can surprise us, the wonders of history and nature prove us wrong. Just recently, the British-Colombian team of archaeologists led by José Iriarte announced the bombshell news.
Tens of thousands of cave paintings created up to 12,500 years ago were discovered in Serranía La Lindosa, in the remote Amazon rainforest. Painted across a cliff, the rock art stretches to nearly 8 miles.
According to the statement, these are drawings of deer, tapirs, alligators, bats, monkeys, turtles, serpents, and porcupines, as well as Ice Age megafauna. Among depictions, you see mastodons, camelids, ungulates with trunks, and giant sloths, and they represent the native animals that have gone extinct.
The site hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients” was discovered last year, but has since been kept secret. It was initially filmed for the Channel 4 series “Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon” that will be screened in December. The documentary’s presenter Ella Al-Shamahi said that “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”
The site was discovered by an international team of British and Colombian researchers. José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and expert on Amazon and pre-Colombian history, commented on the discovery: “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.”
Remarkably, all the paintings turned out to be well-preserved and incredibly detailed. “The pictures are so natural and so well-made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.”
Iriarte also said in a statement that this ancient art serves as spectacular evidence of how humans reconstructed the land, how they lived there, hunted, farmed, and fished. “It is likely art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially. The pictures show how people would have lived amongst giant, now extinct, animals, which they hunted,” he concluded.
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