Mysterious 2,000-year-old rock art of mythical beasts and ancient rituals in Venezuela is revealed in unprecedented detail

Mail Online | 12/7/2017 | Shivali Best For Mailonline
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They're thought to be some of the largest rock engravings in the world, and now scientists have mapped stunning carvings in Western Venezuela for the first time.

The engravings, known as petroglyphs, are around 2,000 years old and include depictions of animals, humans and cultural rituals.

Researchers - Petroglyphs - Light - Context

Researchers hope that mapping the petroglyphs will shed new light into their archaeological and ethnographic context.

Researchers from University College London have mapped the petroglyphs in the Atures Rapids area of Amazonas state in Venezuela.

Jesuit - Area - Home - Adoles - People

Jesuit priests described the area as home to the native Adoles people and the rapids were a key meeting point on trading route.

Eight groups of engraved rock art were recorded on five islands within the Rapids.

Panel - Metres - Contains - Engravings - Measure

The largest panel is 304 square metres, and contains at least 93 individual engravings, the largest of which measure several metres across.

Another engraving of a horned snake measures more than 30 metres in length.

Team - Drones - Engravings - Areas

The team used drones to photograph the engravings, some of which are in highly inaccessible areas.

Dr Philip Riris, lead author of the study, said: 'The Rapids are an ethnic, linguistic and cultural convergence zone.

Motifs - Similarities - Rock - Art - Locality

'The motifs documented here display similarities to several other rock art sites in the locality, as well as in Brazil, Colombia, and much further afield.

'This is one of the first in-depth studies to show the extent and depth of cultural connections to other areas of northern South America in pre-Columbian and Colonial times.

Rock - Art - Sites

'While painted rock art is mainly associated with remote funerary sites,...
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