Ancient mural discovered in Amazon Rainforest

Ava Wittman, Staff Writer

8-mile stretch of markings provides new look into everyday lives, culture of ancient communities

The discovery of ancient markings in what is now the modern-day Columbian segment of the Amazon rainforest was just made public on Nov. 30 by University of Exeter. The markings are estimated to have been drawn by hunter-gatherer communities who inhabited this region up to 12,600 years ago. 

The markings boast depictions of a myriad of species from turtles and deer to ice age megafauna such as mastodons. There are also illustrations of humans, handprints and flora such as trees. These images, while not the first to provide evidence of humans coexisting with creatures of such sizes (ancient drawings in Brazil offer some documentation of this), are the most realistic to date and some of the best preserved so far.

The detection of these drawings has not only allowed us insight into the diet, lifestyle and perhaps even climate of these communities, but has also delivered a glance into how humans have been impacting the world around us for thousands of years. Evidence from other archaeological discoveries near the drawings suggests that the artists survived off of a diet of rodents as well as river creatures, such as snakes and frogs. It is also likely that the area was in the midst of transition from the savannah the communities possibly inhabited into the rainforest we are familiar with today, which would explain why depictions of savannah animals can be located within the markings. If these drawings were made within a time of climate change, they could shine a new light on the investigation of human’s response to an ever-changing climate and the impact ancient communities had on the ecological diversity of the region. 

“The paintings give a vivid and exciting glimpse into the lives of these communities. It is unbelievable to us today to think they lived among, and hunted, giant herbivores, some which were the size of a small car.” Dr. Mark Robinson, one of the experts involved in the research of the drawings, stated in a release by the University of Exeter.

The images, which may have been painted whilst on early versions of a ladder, provide a valuable insight into the creatures that inhabited this area of the world and exactly how we inhabited it alongside them.