Drones needed to study thousands of prehistoric paintings in Amazon forest

In a remote part of the Amazon Rain forest in Colombia, thousands of prehistoric paintings of animals and humans have been found. The discovery is hailed as the “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, and is one of the world’s largest collections of ancient rock art. The paintings were created up to 12,500 years ago and some of them are so high up the cliff faces that drones will be needed to study them.

Drones needed to study thousands of prehistoric paintings in Amazon forest

The thousands of prehistoric paintings that were created by humans 12,500 years ago stretch across almost eight miles of cliff faces. The artwork shows many animals from the ice-age that are now extinct such as the mastodon.

The prehistoric artwork had been discovered last year but kept secret until now. In December a documentary series will be released titled: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon, showcasing the rock art.

According to The Guardian, the documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, who is an archaeologist and explorer, said: “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”

The ancient paintings are located on cliffs in the Serranía de la Lindosa, an area so remote that it took a two-hour drive from San José del Guaviare and an additional four-hour trek on foot to reach.

Many of the paintings are so high up on the rock cliffs, that drones will be needed to study them. The artwork shows handprints, geometric shapes, animals, and humans and they vary in size.

Al-Shamahi added: “One of the most fascinating things was seeing ice age megafauna because that’s a marker of time. I don’t think people realize that the Amazon has shifted in the way it looks. It hasn’t always been this rainforest. When you look at a horse or mastodon in these paintings, of course, they weren’t going to live in a forest. They’re too big. Not only are they giving clues about when they were painted by some of the earliest people – that in itself is just mind-boggling – but they are also giving clues about what this very spot might have looked like: more savannah-like.”

Drones needed to study thousands of prehistoric paintings in Amazon forest

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Photograph: Marie-Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media

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Haye Kesteloo

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