La Serranía la Lindosa, Colombia

New fascinating rock art discoveries from 2020 impressed archaeological historians, to be one of the world’s largest collections in the Amazonian rainforest from the late Pleistocene. More than thousands breathtaking and perfectly preserved cave paintings are located on a very high cliff faces, an area that stretches across nearly eight miles within forest. Worth mentioning that this is just the early stage and there are certainly many other areas that have not yet been discovered.

Recent excavations in the Serranía La Lindosa on the northern edge of the Colombian Amazon were led by José Iriarte professor of archaeology and Dr. Mark Robinson from Exeter University.

Photo: Marie-Claire Thomas, Wild Blue Media

The discovery is even more impressive due to hard access of the rocky Serranía La Lindosa region which is highly protected by FARC and guerilla groups, a social unrest happening in Colombia made the area inaccessible to researchers, what is now Colombia’s largest national park, Chiribiquete; it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2018.

Based on multiple rock shelters, adorned with numerous rock paintings depicting geometric shapes, human figures, handprints, plants and animals, Robinson says the team is now analyzing the first inhabitants to reach the Amazon at the end of the last Ice Age going back to 12 000 BC, who are believed to be the authors of the artworks.

Art so immense that can`t even be seen from the ground. So how did they manage to paint up so high?

It is believed that wooden scaffolding and ladders have been used, or that they were making a construction out of a forest products. It could even be argued that the landscape and people looked completely different than they do today, who really knows?

Depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant can be seen. The images include fish, turtles, lizards and birds, as well as people dancing and holding hands, among other scenes.

It will likely take archaeologists years, maybe generations, to fully study it. Some of these paintings are painted so high up in the cliff that they can only be viewed using drones.

Photo: gipri

According to Iriarte it’s interesting to see that many of these large animals appear surrounded by small men with their arms raised, almost worshipping these animals.

One figure wears a mask resembling a bird with a beak. Mostly drawn in red-ochre, a natural clay pigment and still esearchers studying the paintings can only guess at the significance of certain scenes at present, Robinson noted.

“For Amazonian people, non-humans like animals and plants have souls, and they communicate and engage with people in cooperative or hostile ways through the rituals and shamanic practices that we see depicted in the rock art.”
José Iriarte

Video Representation – Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon

The discovery has been documented and it was filmed for a major Channel 4 series Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon. A very emotional capture with interesting interpretations. The scene with the images starts at 56th minute.

Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.