The newly discovered rock art is so vast that even its creators can never fully admire it

The newly discovered rock art is so vast that even its creators can never fully admire it

The figures discovered may represent ghosts from the underworld, life-sized immortals in the darkest cavities of the cave.

Scientists have found rock carvings that are at least 1,000 years old in a cave in the US state of Alabama. Meter-sized statues were found on the ‘roof’ of the cave in question. “These glyphs are comparable in size to the largest rock art found in several places on the North American continent,” the researchers said.

3D models
Revealing the graphics was not so easy. This is because the numbers are becoming increasingly blurred over time. In addition, the cave in which the drawings were found is very low. So the researchers used 3D models to reconstruct the cave. This not only allowed us to shed light on previously unknown works of art, but also provided a complete picture of all the drawings that were placed in the ceiling,” the researchers wrote. “This way we can put it in context. And context is important if we want to unravel the true meaning of the numbers.”

16000 photos
To create a 3D model, no less than 16,000 overlapping images were grouped together. Researcher Stephen Alvarez spent months crawling to the bottom of the cave to take all the pictures, then spent months in front of a computer building a detailed model of the cave.

Researcher Stephen Alvarez works in the cave. Photo: Alan Kreisler

Hard work was not in vain. Because in the end, Alvarez was able to make an accurate map of the ceiling of the cave. Using clever software, he was even able to make a virtual spotlight on the ceiling from any angle, revealing previously unknown details of artwork.

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Travel through the cave in this video and see the rock art discovered.

The researchers came across several very large (anthropomorphic) figures. In fact, the newly discovered rock art is so extensive that even creative people cannot fully admire it. For example, researchers discovered the graphic below of a snake that is supposed to reach a length of 3.3 meters.

Snake shaped with a round head and diamond shaped body markings. The length of the snake is 3.3 meters. Photo: The photo was taken by S. Alvarez; Illustration provided by J. Simek

“The size is really impressive,” say the researchers. “The artists must have worked through imagination and not from an unobstructed visual perspective.”

Illustrations of discovered cave art. The figures are 0.93 m, 2.12 m, 1.80 m, and 2.80 m in size, respectively. Photo: Jan Simic and Stephen Alvarez

the meaning
The meaning of the shapes seems to correspond to the previously unearthed large rock art that can be found all over the continent. “The large holograms found in North America share a ghostly form, with intricate clothing and head coverings and facing the viewer,” the researchers said. “The numbers seem to represent the inhabitants of a supernatural world.” By the way, this is not a crazy theory. For example, figures are found in the darkest cavities of a deep cave. In addition, caves were often considered passages to the underworld. The researchers suspect that “the figures most likely represent ghosts from the underworld”. “Their strength and importance are expressed in their shape and size.”

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According to the researchers, the numbers likely date back to the Woodland period. Archaeological period and part of the formative period in the eastern United States and Canada, where people lived mainly as hunters and gatherers. The characters are supposed to depict characters from previously unknown religious stories. Thanks to this discovery, researchers hope to learn more and more about this culture. In their study, the researchers wrote: “We were able to reveal a major unknown and previously undiscovered cave art.” “This will certainly lead to new insights into the ancient Native American cave art of North America.”

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