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Thursday, 8 June 2017
The Cave of Hands: An important example of prehistoric art believed to have been created around 9,000 to 13,000 years ago
Located in Río Pinturas in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, this cave contains an exceptional assembly of cave art, made somewhere between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago.
The cave is known as the “Cueva de las Manos” which literally means, “the Cave of Hands”.
Located in the valley of the Pinturas River in Patagonia, Argentina.
Hands prints at the Cuevas de las Manos.
The cave was a home to the first hunter-gatherers living in southern Argentina.
The region where the cave is located has been an area of major focus for archaeological research for more than 25 years.
Archaeologists speculate that the small handprints etched on the cave walls belonged to the predecessors of the Tehuelche tribe, a group of indigenous peoples of Patagonia with a history of over 14,500 years.
Several waves of people occupied the cave, and early artwork has been carbon-dated to ca. 9300 BP.
Made by the first dwellers of the area, a pre-Tehuelche civilization.
Representation of a hunting scene.
The hunting scenes are naturalistic portrayals of a variety of hunting techniques, including the use of “bolas“ – а throwing weapon made of rounded stones at the end of interconnected crude leather straps, which was designed to capture animals by entangling their legs.
Rhea paws among human hands.
The hand imprints were made using different techniques.
The most ancient and famous are overlapped negative images, made by placing the hand on the rock face and creating an outline by blowing pigments through a tube.
Of the 829 handprints, most are male, and only 31 are right-handed.
In addition to the hand stenciled-outlines, there are also highly accurate representations of animals and human silhouettes, and geometric signs such as circles, stars, curved and spiral layouts.
The paints were made from vegetation (roots, bark, etc.) and the hues managed were black, purplish red, yellow, white, purple and very rarely green.
The cave is not very big in size, so probably people came here to relax after hunting and conducted various rituals.
An exceptional assemblage of cave art.
Canyon at the Pinturas River, view from the caves.
Declared World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The site has been declared a National Historic Monument and World Heritage Site (UNESCO) in 1999, not only for its artistic magnificence but as one of the main testimonies of prehistoric hunters that occupied the area.
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