Thousands of Ancient Rock Art Paintings Discovered in the Amazon Rainforest

A British-Colombian archeology team discovered tens of thousands of ice age rock art paintings dating between 12,600 and 11,800 years ago in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia.

A British-Colombian archeology team discovered tens of thousands of ice age rock art paintings dating between 12,600 and 11,800 years ago in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia.

Hailed as the “Sistine Chapel of the Ancients,” the rock art paintings stretch across cliff faces for nearly 13 kilometers at Cerro Azul on the northern edge of the Colombian Amazon, making it one of the largest collections of prehistoric rock art in the world.

The team of archaeologists, funded by the European Research Council, first excavated the rock shelters in 2017 and 2018, following the 2016 truce between the Colombian government and the rebel guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC). The truce allowed the team to enter the territory where the paintings have been discovered after taking a two-hour drive and a four-hour trek.

“When we entered FARC territory, it was exactly as a few of us have been screaming about for a long time. Exploration is not over. Scientific discovery is not over but the big discoveries now are going to be found in places that are disputed or hostile,” archaeologist Ella Al-Shamahi told British newspaper The Guardian.

The team kept the discovery a secret to announce the reveal for a major Channel 4 documentary series in the United Kingdom titled, “Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.” The series is set to air in December.

The rock art includes pictographs of giant sloths, ice age horses, mastodons, plants, people dancing, and handprints.


© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.