Rock art is one of the oldest artistic manifestations on record. This type of expression dates mainly from prehistoric times; however, there is evidence of it in different stages of history, since its name refers to the paintings or drawings found in rocks or caves. This art, which has survived on earth for thousands and thousands of years, is found all over the world, even in Mexico, mainly in the north of the country.
Cave paintings of the San Francisco Sierra
In the Sierra de San Francisco, Baja California Sur, there are emblematic rock shelters where cave paintings of the Gran Mural style are found. In most of the paintings, there are geometric representations, as well as fauna, flora, and humans; in addition, some anthropomorphic figures carry arrows and spears. These paintings are in a good state of conservation thanks to the climate and the difficult access to the site.
One of the oldest cave paintings in the area is located in the San Borjitas Cave, in the Sierra de Guadalupe. It is estimated that the San Borjitas panel is about 7,500 years old. Other important areas where there are cave paintings are La Pintada, Las Flechas, La Música, La Soledad, Boca San Julio, Cuesta Palmarito and El Ratón. Due to the importance of these paintings and the evidence of the existence of a millenary culture, they were included in 1993 in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Cave paintings in Coahuila
Some of the archaeological sites in Coahuila are the Cueva Pinta (located in El Sobaco, between the municipalities of San Pedro de las Colonias and Cuatro Cienegas), El Hundido and El Junco, in the Sierra de la Fragua. The Cueva de la Candelaria, one of the most important mortuary caves in Mexico, also stands out. It is estimated that these sites date from different periods, from at least 10,000 years ago to the Viceroyalty.
The prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla
This is an archaeological site located in the Tlacolula Valley, in the state of Oaxaca. It is made up of two pre-Hispanic vestiges and a series of prehistoric caves and rock shelters of human occupation, where traces of rock art have been found in which human figures, fauna, flora, and abstract figures in red tones can be observed.
In this site, there is evidence of the prehistoric domestication of different species of plants, since, in the Guilá Naquitz cave, pumpkin seeds have been found that date back 10,000 years, which represent the earliest remains of domesticated plants discovered to date in the American continent. The value of this site led to its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
Cave paintings of the San Carlos Mountain Range
In the municipality of Burgos, in the state of Tamaulipas, there are about 5 thousand cave paintings made by groups of hunters or gatherers of the region. The pieces were found in the interior of hollows and ravines of the Sierra de San Carlos. The paintings depict anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, astronomic, and abstract figures. According to researchers, the importance of their discovery lies in the fact that thanks to them it has been possible to document the presence of pre-Hispanic groups in Burgos, where it was believed that there was no human presence.
Cave paintings of Yucatan
In the thousands of caves and cenotes found in the Yucatan Peninsula, cave paintings belonging to the Mayan culture have been found. Some of these caves are located in the municipalities of Homún, Kaua, and Akil. The paintings found represent human figures with weapons (possibly Mayan warriors), geometric figures, palms, and animals.
According to the specialists, this type of manifestation shows the high degree of respect and knowledge that the pre-Hispanic Maya had for art. It is believed that the pictograms in these caves are part of a ritual of the Mayan culture; likewise, it is estimated that they date from a time close to the Spanish conquest, at the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century.