Nearly 5,000 ancient cave paintings have been discovered in Burgos, Mexico.
The red, white, black and yellow images depict humans hunting, fishing and gathering, as well as animals such as deer, lizards and centipedes.
The 4,926 paintings were discovered in 11 different sites and are thought to have been created by at least three groups of hunter gatherers.
In one cave more than 1,550 images were found, including an image of an atlatl, a Hispanic weapon used for hunting that has not been seen before in paintings in the Tamaulipas region.
The archaeologists have been unable to date the paintings, but hope to take some samples of the pigments to find out their approximate age.
The area was not previously thought to have been inhabited by ancient civilisations.
Gustavo Ramirez, an archaeologist from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology (INAH), said: “The discovery is important because we have documented the presence of pre-Hispanic groups in Burgos, where before it was said there was nothing.”
Martha Garcia Sanchez, another archaeologist involved in the study, said that very little is known about the ethnic groups who lived in the caves.
“These groups escaped the Spanish rule for almost 200 years because they fled to the Sierra de San Carlos where they had water, plants and animals to feed themselves,” she said.
“We have not found any ancient objects linked to the context, and because the paintings are on ravine walls and in the rainy season the sediments are washed away, all we have in gravel,” said Ramirez.
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