THE SOUTH AMERICAN ROCK ART ARCHIVE

CUEVA DE LAS MANOS, ARGENTINA - THE CAVE OF THE HANDS

 
 
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Cueva de las Manos, Argentina (Spanish for Cave of the Hands), has an incredible panel of rock art hand paintings, made by the indigenous inhabitants (possibly forefathers of the Tehuelches) some 9,000 years ago. The hands have mainly been stencilled. Within the cave there are also rock art depictions of human beings, guanacos (a camelid native to South America that stands up to 4 feet in height), rheas (a flightless bird native to South America that stands up to 5.6 fett in height), felines and other animals, as well as geometric shapes, zigzag patterns, red dots, representations of the sun, and hunting scenes.
 
The hunting scenes portray a variety of hunting techniques, including the use of 'bolas' - a throwing weapon made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords, designed to capture animals by entangling their legs. In one panel a crack in the rock is used to represent a ravine that the hunters chase the animals into. Guanacos were the main source of food. Most of the painted hands are left hands, and of a size that resembles that of a 13-year-old boy; this may have been an initiation ceremony.
 
World Heritage Site
The rock art site, located at Santa Cruz in rural Patagonia, became a World Heritage Site in 1999. The photographs included here are courtesy of Michael Turtle, Travel writer. Cueva de las Manos is presented as part of the Bradshaw Foundation South America Rock Art Archive. More information and examples of hand paintings in world rock art can be found in the Hand Paintings and Symbols in Rock Art section of this website.
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Figures & Hand Paintings
Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina
Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Cave of the Hands
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Cueva de las Manos
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Cueva de las Manos
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Hand Painting Panels
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Figures & Hand Paintings
Cueva de las Manos Argentina Cave of the Hands
Hunting Scenes
 
Hand Paintings and Symbols in Rock Art
Bradshaw Foundation
 
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