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Response to 'discovery' claims in Colombia
Sunday 06 December 2020

Diego Martinez Celis APROPIACION SOCIAL DEL PATRIMONIO ARQUEOLOGICO COLOMBIANO

Early Holocene Megafauna or Fauna introduced by the first European invaders?*

AIMS FOR A DEBATE.

In a recent article published in Science Direct (Morcote, et al, 2020) (1) and its echoes in certain mass media (The Guardian (2), The Spectator (3), etc. ), it has been intended to warn of the "discovery" of cave paintings in the serran íaa of La Lindosa (Guaviare, Colombia), which, based on certain evidence of the surrounding underground, would have an antique of more than 12 thousand years. The above would be reaffirmed by the alleged representation of megafauna, especially of American megaterians, paleolamas or horses (!).

In principle, it would not be a "discovery", as these had already been warned and investigated for more than 70 years (Gheerbrant, 1952; Botiva, 1986; Urbina, 2015; etc); nor would they be representing megafauna, but rather, and according to Fernando Urbina Rangel (4), specimens of war dogs, vaccines and horses introduced by the first European invaders and warned by indigenous people of the Guaviare region since the decade of 1530.

The truth is, according to the research referred to, the paintings themselves were not dated, but only some evidence buried in their surroundings. It seems conventional archaeological projects approaching rock art for the first time, continue to repeat in the naive claim that underground remains in the surroundings of a site with rock art, automatically realize the context of preparing paintings or engravings. In this case the result is even more perverse, because without finding vestiges of megafauna, the authors extrapolate the dating of other evidence buried to the imaginary of the past and a period (early Holocene) that detonate their findings. That's why they think they're seeing representations of American megaterians and horses where, most likely, they're American dogs and horses brought by Europeans.

The above does not attempt to subtract credit from archaeological research and the hypotheses that derive from there, but if it deserves to be exposed to invite the critical review of what emanates from scientific publications and their echoes in the mass media (which once issued they are hard to shortcut). While the curse art of La Lindosa is impressive, labeling it as "The Sistine Chapel of the Amazon" or claim it is so old that it would be representing the coexistence of the first settlers with the megafauna, does a skinny favor to the scientific approach about these manifestations of the past.

The debate is therefore open about what the paintings of certain specimens of wildlife of uncertain identity, but the early Holocene to the th century is far from it, and the response to the antique of these demonstrations cannot be reduced to the interpretation of the which we believe to identify, but rather focus on the direct dating of your paintings, which, as with Chiribiquete's (equally erroneously approached) is pending to be faced with real scientific rigor.

* Diego Martinez Celis.

REFERENCIAS: : (1) “Colonisation and early peopling of the Colombian Amazon during the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene: New evidence from La Serranía La Lindosa” https://www.sciencedirect.com/.../abs/pii/S1040618220301907 (2)'Sistine Chapel of the ancients' rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest https://www.theguardian.com/.../sistine-chapel-of-the... (3) The Amazon has one of the world's largest prehistoric collections of rock art. https://www.elespectador.com/.../el-amazonas-tiene.../... (4) War Dogs, Horses and Vaccines in Cave Art from the saw of La Lindosa, Guayabero River, Guaviare, Colombia http://www.rupestreweb.info/serranialindosa.html

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