Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com – Scientists have discovered 16 new archaeological sites while investigating a large area in Jalapão, in the eastern part of the state of Tocantins, Brazil.

2,000-Year-Old Rock Art Sites Discovered In Jalapão, Brazil

Mountains in Jalapão, the state of Tocantins, Brazil. Credit: Adobe Stock – Lucas

The National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (Iphan) archaeology team has announced that new archeological sites are believed to contain rock art, including human and animal footprints, engraved symbols, and figures depicting celestial bodies. The press release issued by Brazil’s Ministry of Culture suggests these artistic expressions were likely created approximately 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologist Rômulo Mac edo from IPHAN  explained that the carved symbols and rock art prominently feature human footprints. Additionally, there are imprints of animals like deer and wild pigs, along with figures that appear to represent celestial bodies.

Tocantins Archaeological Heritage Is Endangered

Recent findings have enriched the archaeological legacy of Tocantins, a state known for its vast potential in archaeological research. The state boasts numerous sites registered by Iphan, many of which are now part of an extensive archaeological complex situated in Jalapão. These areas have evidence of human settlements dating back to 12,000 years ago and contain pre-colonial archaeological sites that were established prior to the arrival of European colonizers.

Additionally, structures related to archaeology from the past are present, highlighting this region’s significance as a point of contact between the Amazon Forest and Central Brazil’s Cerrado biome.

As infrastructure development grows in the Amazon states, Tocantins has seen a notable surge in archaeological research conducted as part of environmental licensing. This has enabled the gathering of data from previously unexplored archaeological areas.

In this scenario, archaeological work is carried out by firms dedicated to preserving heritage in regions affected by economic activities. Two key actions are prioritized: organizing and sharing knowledge about discovered assets and integrating archaeological considerations into environmental licensing procedures.

2,000-Year-Old Rock Art Sites Discovered In Jalapão, Brazil

New rock art found by archaeologists investigating the Jalapão in Brazil. Credit: Rômulo Macedo/Iphan

Previous studies conducted in the region have indicated that ancient populations favored residing near minor streams and rivers, which are tributaries of the Rio do Sono. Archaeologists speculate that this choice may have been influenced by the ease of fishing using traps or bows and arrows provided by these smaller water bodies. Additionally, they served as a vital source of water. Evidence of archaeological sites has been discovered along the Monte Santo and Vermelho rivers and Espingarda, Caracol, Rapadura, Olimpo, Formosa, and Brejão streams.

Regrettably, as highlighted by the IPHAN archaeologist, this cultural asset is under threat due to various factors.

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Wind erosion, vandalism, forest fires, and deforestation are among the main threats to the identified sites. To minimize these impacts, Iphan initiated conservation and heritage education actions in the region to protect and promote this Brazilian cultural heritage.

Written by Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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