Ancient stone carvings of human faces and other figures from 2,000 years ago have been exposed along the Amazon riverbanks due to a severe drought in Brazil, causing water levels to drop to record lows.
Ancient carvings known as petroglyphs, depicting animals and natural shapes, have been discovered at the Ponto das Lajes archeological site on the banks of the Rio Negro.
Scientists approximate the symbols to be approximately 1,000 to 2,000 years old.
The engravings were first observed during a intense dry spell in 2010, when the water levels of Rio Negro reached a record low of 13.63 meters.
This month, they resurfaced, with additional markings becoming visible as the water levels continued to decrease. This is happening during an abnormally dry season that experts believe is caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon and increased temperatures in the North Atlantic that are connected to climate change. The Rio Negro, for the first time ever, has reached a depth of less than 13 meters, measuring at 12.89 meters on Monday.
In addition to human-like faces and images of water, certain rocks also exhibit grooves that indicate the location may have served as a place for creating stone implements.
Carlos Augusto da Silva of the Federal University of Amazonas identified 25 groups of carvings on a single rock which he believes was used as a whetstone to sharpen various instruments. “This was an area for the preparation of tools,” the archaeologist told the local news site Amazônia Real.
According to reports, pieces of pottery believed to be several millennia old have been discovered at the location, which was once inhabited by sizable Indigenous communities before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
Although the Ponto das Lajes petroglyphs are classified as an archaeological site, they have not yet been thoroughly researched. As a result, scientists are using comparisons with rock carvings found in other areas of central Amazonia to estimate their age.
According to archaeologist Filippo Stampanoni Bassi, these areas, now known as archaeological sites containing dark soil, abundant pottery shards, and etched rocks, hold significant value in showcasing the region’s Indigenous past. It is important for all residents of Manaus to show reverence towards these sites.