Archeologists have discovered an eight-mile long wall containing prehistoric rock art that features animals and humans in the Amazonian rainforest in South America after it was created nearly 12,500 years ago.
The historical artwork is now being hailed as the 'Sistine Chapel of the ancients'. A team of British-Colombian archaeologists funded by the European Research Council uncovered the magnificent work on cliff faces in 2019 in the Chiribiquete National Park in Colombia.
It is believed that the ancient images depicted on the cliffs give a glimpse into a now lost civilisation created by some of the first ever humans to reach the Amazon. According to DailyMail, the paintings portray extinct animals from the Ice Age such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant which has not been seen in South America for at least 12,000 years. Depictions of palaeolama, an extinct member of the camel family, giant sloths and ice age horses also fortify the ancient value of the painting. There are human handprints as well in the painting.
It is believed by scientists that the most native tribes in the Amazon are descendants of the first Siberian wave of migrants who are thought to have crossed the Bering Land Bridge up to 17,000 years ago. During the Ice Age this land bridge stayed relatively untouched because snowfall was minimal. The land bridge stretched for hundreds of kilometres into the continents on either side so provided a way for people to cross into different areas.
Even though archeologists don't know exactly which tribe created the paintings, Amazon is home to two main indigenous tribes which are believed to have been around for thousands of years, the Yanomami and the Kayapo.
Yanomami, who live between the borders of Brazil and Venezuela, were first spotted in 1759 when a Spanish explorer found a chief of another tribe who mentioned them. However, not much is known about the origin of the Kayapo tribe, which is estimated to have a population of roughly 8,600 people
🔴 BREAKING!Just inscribed as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage Site: Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar” #Colombia 🇨🇴. Congratulations! 👏ℹ️ https://t.co/2yNtdUSvGc #42whc pic.twitter.com/K2aAWT0AOb— UNESCO (@UNESCO) July 1, 2018
Natives of Amazon did not keep written records until recently. But the humid climate and acidic soil have destroyed almost all traces of their material culture, including bones. The discovery of these paintings is a major boost for their historical records. Anything known about the region's history before 1500 has been inferred from the meagre archaeological evidence such as ceramics and arrow heads.