Venezuela’s Newly Discovered Ancient Rock Art Could Rewrite South American History 

Venezuela's Newly Discovered Ancient Rock Art Could Rewrite South American History 
Rock art panel in the Upuigma-tepui table-top mountain area of Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Courtesy of José Miguel Pérez-Gómez/Proyecto Arqueológico Canaima/Axios

Researchers have uncovered ancient cave art sites in Venezuela, providing new insights into the migration patterns of the first inhabitants of South America. These findings offer a rare glimpse into a previously unknown culture and come at a time when the nation faces significant social challenges that impede academic work. This is the first discovery of its kind in southern Venezuela. 

The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. “We’re talking about something completely new that hadn’t been academically recorded before, unprecedented. Its cultural richness will definitely have an impact in the region and the world,” José Miguel Pérez-Gómez, the lead archaeologist from the Universidad Simón Bolívar, said as reported by Axios. 

Presented internationally at a conference in Italy, Pérez-Gómez and his team revealed that they have identified 20 caves, shelters, or sites with rock art within the Canaima National Park in southwestern Venezuela. Spanning approximately 19,000 square miles (30,000 kilometers), the park likely holds even more undiscovered sites. Pérez-Gómez noted, “There is an intention to advance with a much more serious project, much more focused on the archaeological part, which will certainly need resources and support.” 

About the Newly Discovered Rock Art in Venezuela

The rock art, located near the tepuy Upuigma in Canaima National Park, includes a variety of glyphs, pictograms, engravings, and geometric shapes. These artworks bear similarities to rock art series previously studied in neighboring countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana, suggesting possible cultural connections or shared artistic traditions among early South American populations. 

Despite the ongoing social crisis in Venezuela, which complicates academic endeavors, this discovery shines a light on the country’s rich and largely untapped archaeological potential.  

The recent discovery of rock art sites in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park represents a monumental leap in understanding the spread of early human populations in South America. This breakthrough also highlights the importance of further archaeological research and international collaboration. 

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