Ancient rock paintings spotted in remote Colombia

Exquisite, ancient rock paintings spotted in remote Colombia

(Read the article on one page)

A crew of filmmakers has discovered beautiful paintings that may be thousands of years old on rock walls in a remote part of the Colombian jungle. The region is almost inaccessible to modern people and remains unexplored except by the natives who are believed to still live there.

The Guardian reports that the crew, headed by director Mike Slee, took photos and video of the paintings from a helicopter. They have been described as ‘masterpieces’ and depict a holy man, hunters and different animals species.

“They reveal the hand of a master of painting,” Fernando Urbina, a rock-art specialist with the National University of Colombia, told the Guardian.

 view of Chiribiquete park, where the paintings were found

A view of Chiribiquete park, where the paintings were found (Carlos Castaño Uribe/ Wikimedia Commons )

Urbina said the paintings could be as old as 20,000 years. But it will be impossible to estimate their age with radiocarbon dating because they were painted with mineral-based, iron oxide pigments rather than the organic charcoal that European rock paintings were made with.

Urbina expressed to the Guardian special interest in a seated human figure with his arms folded over his shoulders, a ritual position among people of the Amazon that may mean the man depicted was a sage.

It has been suggested that that the rock art was painted by Karijona tribe members. A few members of the tribe still live there. The area is Chiribiquete national park, a UNESCO world heritage site that covers 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 square miles) of unexplored territory with thick forest, rock towers jutting through the rainforest canopy, peaks and valleys and sheer cliffs.

Rock art from another part of Chiribiquete shows animals, hand prints and anthropomorphic figures.

Rock art from another part of Chiribiquete shows animals, hand prints and anthropomorphic figures. (Carlos Castaño Uribe/ Wikimedia Commons )

The British wildlife filmmaker Slee was the first European to film the art, from a helicopter. He is making a movie titled Colombia: Wild Magic and is exploring the South American country for scenes. He made the movies Bugs! 3D and The Flight of the Butterflies .

There were reports of the rock art in the Cerro Campana area of Chiribiquete, and other paintings have been photographed in other parts of Chiribiquete, but the paintings Slee found are new to modern people.

Rock art from another part of Chiribiquete depicts a human figure.

Rock art from another part of Chiribiquete depicts a human figure. (Carlos Castaño Uribe/ Wikimedia Commons )

The paintings include depictions of deer, crocodiles, snakes, large rodents called capybaras and anteaters. They show hunters and warriors celebrating.

Slee calls the places where the art was painted a chapel. He told the Guardian: “The peoples who once lived here have left in pictures testimony of their awe and respect for the wild. When I saw the images, I honestly felt an affinity with the artists. They were attempting to capture the power, grace, spirit and essence of the animal in pictures. Perhaps it was to make the hunt better the next day, but there is clearly careful observation in their art. It’s what contemporary photographers, painters, film-makers set out to do when they create a wildlife project.”

In his movie about Colombia, Slee will warn about the gold and emerald mining that is destroying forest and polluting rivers and the clear-cutting of the rainforest. “We’re taking out the rainforest, we’re losing species every week. We have the most beautiful country on Earth and we are in danger of destroying it,” he said.

He hopes to return to Cerro Campana and make a second movie about the rock art.

Featured image: Rock art in the Chiribiquete national park in Colombia, seen for the first time by non-native people. (Mike Slee image)

By Mark Miller

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article