Ancient Origins Iraq Tour Banner

Ancient Origins Iraq Tour Mobile Banner

A cliffside Ice Age Colombian art “mural,” discovered in 2019, that simply boggles the mind in its size and extreme location!    Source: Marie-Claire Thomas / Wild Blue Media Ltd

Ice Age Colombian Art Found Painted On Remote Jungle Cliffs


Tens of thousands of paintings of people, giant extinct animals and psychedelic plants from 12,500 years ago have been discovered on remote cliffs in Colombia. This rare collection of Ice Age Colombian art was discovered in the Amazon region of Colombia in 2019. The prehistoric Colombian art of this area is one of the world s largest collections of rock art ever discovered. The researchers involved with the discovery call it the Sistine Chapel of the ancients” and believe the illustrations were created up to “12,500 years ago,” across eight miles of jungle-matted cliff faces in the Amazon rainforest.

Amazing Colombian Art Painted On Rocks Is Still A Secret!

An article in The Guardian says that these rock paintings were actually discovered in 2019 but the whole story was kept under wraps as it was being filmed for a new Channel 4 series called Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon , which premieres in December, 2020.

The documentary s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an explorer, paleoanthropologist, and evolutionary biologist, says the discovery of the paintings is so new that “they haven t even given it a name yet.”

The Colombian rock art was discovered in the extremely remote Serranía de la Lindosa area, an archaeological site about 10.6 miles (17 kilometers) south of San José del Guaviare.

Similar Colombian rock art was also found in 2015, according to The Guardian , in the “nearby” Chiribiquete National Park, the largest national park in Colombia, and the largest tropical rainforest national park in the world.

This Ice Age Colombian art was discovered in 2015 in the remote Chiribiquete National Park and is very similar to the 2019 cliffside discoveries. (Francisco Forero Bonell/ Fundacion Ecoplanet)

This Ice Age Colombian art was discovered in 2015 in the remote Chiribiquete National Park and is very similar to the 2019 cliffside discoveries. (Francisco Forero Bonell/ Fundacion Ecoplanet )

Painted by some of the very first humans to reach this Amazon region, the ancient Colombian art features thousands of hand prints peppered among geometric patterns, Ice Age animals like giant sloths and horses, and mastodons. These mastodons are an ancestor of the modern elephant that went extinct in South America around 12,000 years ago.

Paintings From A Time When Animals Hunted Us

The original Indiana Jones moment, the 2019 discovery in the Serranía de la Lindosa area, was made by José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University , and his British-Colombian team of researchers.

The paintings are mostly made with red ochre and many are located so high up on the cliffs that the only way the explorers could see them was with drones equipped with high-resolution cameras.

Most of the ancient Colombian art was found in an exceptionally good state of preservation. For example, a giant ice-age horse is so detailed that the researchers said it had “a wild, heavy face.” The archaeologists were bewildered by the range of subjects in the paintings, including birds, lizards, fish, turtles, and even groups of ancient people holding hands and dancing around a figure wearing a bird-beak mask.

The person wearing the bird mask is not the only evidence of ritual worship from the ancient culture who made the paintings. The researchers say many of these large animals appear “surrounded by small men with their arms raised, almost worshipping these animals,” said Al-Shamahi.

And believe it or not, Iriarte says some of the paintings show wooden towers with figures bungee jumping from them. You’d have to be out of your mind to jump from a wooden jungle tower with a vine tied around your ankle, right? Well it looks like these Ice Age Colombian people were doing just that.

This image from a lower cliffside location shows red ochre handprints and geometric lines. (Marie-Claire Thomas / Wild Blue Media Ltd)

This image from a lower cliffside location shows red ochre handprints and geometric lines. (Marie-Claire Thomas / Wild Blue Media Ltd )

The Latest Cliffside Colombian Art Tells A New Story!

Iriarte says much of the imagery shows hallucinogenic plants and trees and this suggests the people might have been ingesting powerful chemicals to assist their perceived uniting with animal souls through shamanic rituals.

While it is of course a coincidence, the so-called “Shaft Scene” in France’s Lascaux cave paintings, dating from approximately 15,300 BC, in the Dordogne region of France, also features a famous “Bird Man figure,” which seems to be a feature repeated in Paleolithic art worldwide.

The paintings not only reveal volumes of new data about hunting and associated rituals, but Al-Shamahi points out that the landscapes featured in the painting differ greatly from how they are today. Accounting for this mismatch the researchers noted that this region hasn’t always been rainforest and that 12,000 years ago, according to the rock art, it was “more savannah-like.”

You can watch the new series Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon at 6.30pm on Channel 4 on 5 December 2020. This ancient Colombian art discovery is covered in episode 2 which airs on 12 December.

Top image: A cliffside Ice Age Colombian art “mural,” discovered in 2019, that simply boggles the mind in its size and extreme location!    Source: Marie-Claire Thomas / Wild Blue Media Ltd

By Ashley Cowie



Michele Elise's picture

2 things caught my eye. The jump from towers with vine wrapping their ankles. This is STILL done on Pentacost Island, Vanuatu, which is a very very long way from the Amazon!!! THAT is important. Pentacost Island of the Vanuatu islands is very nearly directly west of Columbia, okay by about 8,000 miles, which is much too far, but its very much the same ceremony today as what is painted in Columbia! It is unlikely anyone could survive an 8000 mile voyage I realize, but also the people of Vanuatu were islanders. Most of what they ate probably came from the sea anyway. Lack of drinking water would have made this impossible, but it is very nearly a straight shot east! Perhaps some carved piece of wood showing the ceremony had eventually floated there. They are likely not worshiping the animals… that is unlikely. What is incredibly likely though is that they learned better hunting techniques driving the animals into traps or pens where it would be easier to kill them. To do this typically the hunter would raise his arms and make a LOT of noise! If they are driving very large animals into corrals or pit traps, it is reasonable to assume this was a large population center that needed to feed a lot of people. In fact the artwork showing the large animals with the human figures with the arms raised was very likely a set of instructions, teaching others that THIS is THE cliff to drive the large animals off of! (There’s probably further illustrations that show humans waiting below to butcher the animal….) I’m just thinking that sometimes things are that dreadfully simple. It took us forever to figure out that they actually did “walk” the stone figures on Easter Island to their resting places overlooking the ocean. 

Too perfect, too red and clear (for age).  

Gary Moran's picture

Hope they can get a US network to tun those. Maybe History or Discovery? I don’t think I can get it in Arizona, shame.

Absolutely fascinating, after 12,000 years of exposure to the elements there appears to be almost no degradation in the paint surface chroma. Leads one to think perhaps there is something amiss.


IJ Brown's picture

They make a lot of assumptions. If the animals are so correctly proportioned then we need to examine all of it and suggest that the human figures had correct proptortional penises and they were the length of their thighs.  Much of current archeology has descended into what they wnat it to bne rather than what it mnay be, which is what we at tangatawhenua16 are supposed to be accussed of with our long human femur 


ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

Next article