Recently, a team of scientists made an unprecedented discovery, finding tens of thousands of cave paintings daubed across an eight-mile stretch of rock. Found in Colombia’s Amazon rainforest, the paintings are in pristine condition, and scientists are calling the place the “Sistine Chapel of the Ancients.” The discovery will undoubtedly change the world of archaeology.
The Cave Paintings Include Depictions of Ice Age Megafauna and Handprints
The cave paintings are 12.5 thousand-years-old, and the art itself is extremely detailed, with depictions of mastodons and other Ice Age megafauna, including horses and giant ground sloths. The ancient art was found in Colombia’s Chiribiquete National Park last year but was kept secret because it was used as the set of a documentary. Also, archaeologists definitely wanted to have as much time as possible to study the art before the news draws tourists or even artifact hunters and looters to the site.
The Cave Paintings Could Have Been Drawn By Paleolithic Hunters
Scientists suspect the cave paintings might have been made by ancient Paleolithic hunters who managed to cross the Bering land bridge from Siberia. The discovery was made by a joint Colombian-British team led by Jose Iriarte, a professor of archaeology at Exeter University. He was very vocal about the raw power of the tens of thousands of images, pointing out that some were so well done that they included horsetails with individually-painted hairs.
Adding to the mystery of the images is the fact that the paintings cover almost every inch of the cliff, including high-up rocks. Scientists managed to find those only after they used the camera drones and are now wondering how these ancient humans managed to scale the walls. In addition to the large Ice Age mammals, fish, lizards, and birds, scientists found depictions of masked dancing figures, hallucinogenic plants, and trees.
Chiribiquete was recently an area controlled by an anti-government paramilitary organization called FARC. Now, after FARC signed a truce with Bogota, scientists could safely explore the area and discover the enormous trove of cave paintings.