[imagesource: Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media]
The Amazon rainforest, due to its size and the difficulty of navigating through it, is one of the few places on Earth that still hold secrets that we have yet to uncover.
When we do find them, though, they are often spectacular.
Archaeologists recently uncovered a 13-kilometre long wall covered in rock art that they estimate was drawn roughly 12 600 years ago during the Ice Age.
The paintings were made using ochre, a red pigment used to paint in the ancient world.
Per Live Science, the paintings were found on the hills above three rock shelters where those who painted them may have lived.
“These really are incredible images, produced by the earliest people to live in western Amazonia,” study co-researcher Mark Robinson, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, who analyzed the rock art alongside Colombian scientists, said in a press statement.
Indigenous people were likely to have started painting the images at the archaeological site of Serranía La Lindosa, on the northern edge of the Colombian Amazon, towards the end of the ice age.
During that time, “the Amazon was still transforming into the tropical forest we recognize today,” Robinson said. Rising temperatures changed the Amazon from a patchwork landscape of savannas, thorny scrub and forest into today’s leafy tropical rainforest.
The paintings include handprints, geometric designs and an array of animals including deer, tapirs, alligators, bats, monkeys, turtles, serpents, porcupines, camelids, horses, and three-toed hoofed mammals with trunks, many of which are extinct today.
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Excavations within the rock shelters have shown that these camps are some of the earliest human dwelling sites in the Amazon. Bone and plant remains suggest that the inhabitants lived on a diet of palm and tree fruits, piranhas, alligators, snakes, frogs, rodents such as paca and capybara, and armadillos.
“These rock paintings are spectacular evidence of how humans reconstructed the land, and how they hunted, farmed and fished,” study co-researcher José Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, said in the statement. “It is likely art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially.”
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