El Corazón del Caribe research project
- Jago Cooper, Curator of the Americas
- Dr Alice Samson, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
- British Academy
- McDonald Institute
- Air France
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Rock art discovered on Mona island
The pre-Columbian iconography found in many of these cave systems extends through galleried chambers covering large portions of the walls and ceilings.
As well as clear figurative art there are also large finger incised patterns extending for metres through different cave alcoves.
Some of the finger incised designs have stalagmite growth over them providing a potential source of dating. These stalagmites can provide a date before which this rock art must have been made.
Pictographs like this one are painted onto the cave wall using a pigment that appears to be made of a charcoal admixture.
Stylised faces are a common feature of the iconography with certain forms like this one repeated consistently in different cave systems
This figure with the swirling arms represents Guabancex, the pre-Columbian deity associated with the destructive force of the hurricane.
This figure is identical to the famous Puerto Rican Sol de Jayuya rock art image found in central Puerto Rico.
This figure is drawn upside down indicating a link to bat imagery yet with a leg style associated with frogs. This form of transformative art combining zoomorphic and anthropomorphic traits is common in the pre-Columbian Caribbean.
Many of these images require a skilful continuous artistic stroke of finger incision drawn across the cave ceiling over many metres.
This image of the frowning and contorted face hints at the commonly identified pre-Columbian use of these caves as locations for the taking of hallucigens.