|11 January 2012
2,000 year-old cave paintings found in Mexico
Mexican archaeologists found some 3,000 cave paintings, some almost 2,000 years old, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said. The discoveries were made between August and October 2011, but were not announced until specialists confirmed their antiquity and completed their analyses.
The paintings came to light through the Rupestral Art Project of the Victoria River Basin - which includes semi-desert regions in the states of Queretaro and Guanajuato - developed by INAH experts and directed by archaeologist Carlos Viramontes. INAH said that the pictographs were found at 40 rock sites. It added that the oldest images refer to rites of passage, healing, prayers for rain and mountain worship, and were created by ancient hunter-gatherer societies that occupied the area during the first centuries CE. These paintings, with yellow, red and black as the predominating colors, generally represent human figures. Often in hunting and battle scenes they carry bows and arrows.
"A great diversity of animals is also to be seen, and radiating circles that probably represent the sun," Viramontes said.
The expert said that the ancient hunter-gatherers who "created images on rockfaces were doing more than just leaving an imprint of their collective memory of historic, climatic and ritual occurrences - they painted the exposed fronts and sheltered backs of boulders as points of contact between the material and spiritual world."
The discoveries are added to the more than 70 rock-art locations discovered in Guanajuato since the late 1980s. The oldest rupestral art documented in Mexico up to now is in Baja California and dates back some 7,400 years.
Edited from Hispanically Speaking News (8 January 2012)
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