Recently, tens of thousands of cave paintings were discovered across an eight-mile rock stretch in Colombia’s Amazon rainforest.
Believed to be 12,500 years of age, this art is very detailed, and features depictions of Ice Age megafauna. The discovery, made in Chiribiquete National Park in the south of Colombia, actually happened last year, but was not revealed because it’s the set of a documentary – Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.
Presumably, archaeologists also want to preserve as much time to study the art alone as they can, as the news could draw thousands of tourists, or even looters and artifact hunters to the site.
The discoverers suspect the works could have been made by Paleolithic hunters who crossed the Bering land bridge into the new world from Siberia.
This discovery was made possible by a joint team formed by Colombia and British, with Jose Iriarte (an archaeology professor at Exeter University), as the leader. He was quite vocal about the raw power of literally tens of thousands of different images, some of which are so well done they include horse tails with individual hairs painted. In an interview with the Observer, he said:
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.Jose Iriarte
Further complicating the mystery is that the paintings cover nearly every inch even far up the cliff faces where they were only seen clearly when the archaeologist broke out the flying camera drones.
Ella Al-Shamahi, the Paleo-archaeologist who will be presenting the new documentary revealed that:
I’m 5ft 10in and I would be breaking my neck looking up. How were they scaling those walls?Ella Al-Shamahi
Along with large mammals, birds, fish, lizards—masked figures often in dance are also painted here.
Trees and hallucinogenic plants are also depicted in this cave paintings, which wasn’t a surprise to Iriarte who noted that “for Amazonian people, non-humans like animals and plants have souls, and they communicate and engage with people in cooperative or hostile ways through the rituals and shamanic practices that we see depicted in the rock art.”