The work had been in all probability made round 11,800 to 12,600 years in the past, in accordance with a press launch from researchers at Britain’s College of Exeter.
The work are set over three totally different rock shelters, with the most important, generally known as Cerro Azul, house to 12 panels and hundreds of particular person pictographs.
Situated within the Serranía La Lindosa in modern-day Colombia, the rock artwork reveals how the earliest human inhabitants of the realm would have coexisted with Ice Age megafauna, with photos exhibiting what seem like big sloths, mastodons, camelids, horses and three-toed ungulates with trunks.
“These actually are unbelievable photographs, produced by the earliest folks to reside in western Amazonia,” mentioned Mark Robinson, an archaeologist on the College of Exeter.
“The work give a vivid and thrilling glimpse in to the lives of those communities. It’s unbelievable to us at present to assume they lived amongst, and hunted, big herbivores, some which had been the dimensions of a small automobile.”
The work had been discovered within the Serranía La Lindosa, in modern-day Colombia. Credit score: Professor José Iriarte
Different photos present human figures, geometric shapes and searching scenes, in addition to animals similar to deer, tapirs, alligators, bats, monkeys, turtles, serpents and porcupines.
The crimson work, made utilizing pigments extracted from scraped ocher, make up one of many largest collections of rock artwork in South America.
On the time when the drawings had been made, the Amazon was altering from a patchwork of savannahs, tropical forest and thorny scrub into the broad-leaf tropical forest we all know at present.
The artists would have used fireplace to exfoliate the rock and make flat surfaces on which to color, specialists say. Whereas the work are uncovered to the weather, they’re protected by overhanging rock, which suggests they continue to be in higher situation than different rock artwork discovered within the Amazon.
A few of them had been painted so excessive up on the rock that “particular ladders crafted from forest sources would have been wanted” to create them, in accordance with the press launch.
The individuals who painted the photographs had been hunter-gatherers who ate palm fruit and tree fruits, in addition to fishing within the close by river for piranha and alligators. Bones and plant stays additionally reveal they ate snakes, frogs, armadillos and rodents, together with paca and capybara.
Researchers on the challenge are working to search out out when people first settled within the Amazon area, and the way their presence affected biodiversity.
The pre-Columbian rock artwork at Cerro Azul in Guaviare state, Colombia dates again round 12,000 years. Credit score: Marie-Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media
José Iriarte, Professor of Archaeology at Exeter, advised CNN that the findings are an preliminary stage in a challenge that may run for 5 years.
One of many fast goals is to doc all the rock artwork within the space, and work out what different animals are depicted, he mentioned.
“These rock work are spectacular proof of how people reconstructed the land, and the way they hunted, farmed and fished,” Iriarte mentioned within the press launch.
“It’s doubtless artwork was a strong a part of tradition and a means for folks to attach socially. The photographs present how folks would have lived amongst big, now extinct, animals, which they hunted.”
Iriarte was impressed by the realism of the work, which had been produced throughout a uncommon window during which early people lived alongside megafauna.
“The extent of statement of the fauna was unbelievable,” he mentioned.
The rock work function in a brand new TV collection, “Jungle Thriller: Misplaced Kingdoms of the Amazon,” on the UK’s Channel 4, and the findings are additionally described in an article within the journal Quaternary Worldwide.
Robinson and Iriarte labored on the challenge alongside Javier Aceituno of the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia and Gaspar Morcote-Rios of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota.
Communities within the native space knew of the rock work, and helped researchers doc them within the wake of the 2016 peace deal between the Colombian authorities and the FARC guerrilla group, which disarmed after 52 years of battle. Researchers labored on the website in 2017 and 2018.