Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Newly Discovered Cave Pictograph: Update

Hello everyone,

I have come to the conclusion that some of my latest posts have been a bit lengthy, but picturesque. I had hoped to flesh out more useful information regarding my research, guided by imagery, but due to new time constraints, I have resolved on doing shorter posts. These will continue to be informative nevertheless, but easier to digest. It will be better since I get easily distracted and digress. Henceforth, I plan for my posts to be sort of less informal updates and tidy bits of juicy information.

So, yes, right to the news. On my previous post about "Shaman or Monkey" pictograph, I blogged about the unexpectedly, but a nevertheless interesting discovery of line pictograph on Palenque Hill, in northwestern Cuba. My colleague and co-discoverer Leonel Perez-Orozco has recently divulged such discovery on the local and international press (such as Giron,  Prensa Latina, and Cuba Arqueologica), and hence I wanted to clarify several points.

Fig. 1: Pictograph of fine charcoal line patterns on the cave wall.

The pictographs are the dark charcoal lines in the upper center of figure 1. As of today, we are not sure who and when they were made. However, based on its form and make we think they were made by either aboriginals or maroons that took to the hills during the Spanish conquest of the island, which action has named the very same hill where the cave is located. That is the meaning of Palenque, originally a maroon stockade, a name that was later modified to mean a hideout for runaway slaves or native Indians.

If made by Amerindians, these were probably of hunter-gatherer groups that could have used the cave as ritual or hideout. But we have no evidence of either living activities or hideout at this point. Sadly, most of the piece have been erased by water that filters through the cave wall.

The little cave is apparently called Campamento Cave, or Camping Cave. We made this accidental discovery on our recent survey of this hill, which is an important component of the anticlinal Habana-Matanzas hill range, in northwestern Cuba. This pictograph is somewhat  important because thus far, this sort of evidence was lacking from the region, and it hints at what the name of the hill already suggested. Even though the harder evidence is wanting.

Stay tuned for more news!