Archaeologists recently discovered hidden cave drawings which may be the oldest works of rock art in America, according to a new paper in Antiquity.
The images, found in Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, were discovered by researchers Jan F. Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas P. Herrmann and Sarah C. Sherwood. The team employed non-destructive tools to find out more information, according to Fox News, which included a high-resolution laser scanner to analyze the faint drawings.
The 6,000-year-old cave art revealed clues as to what Native American life in the South may have been like at the time. Many drawings depicted humans with pointed tools alongside wild dogs, serpents and other beasts. Other drawings of celestial designs allude to a spiritual understanding of the universe.
Simek told Discovery News: "The discoveries tell us that prehistoric peoples in the Cumberland Plateau used this rather distinctive upland environment for a variety of purposes and that religion was part of that broader sense of place."
Herrmann then commented on the mythical roles humans take in the drawings. "Human images are often shown in activities suggesting heroic or ceremonial action, flying, transforming into animal shapes or reaching through the rock surface," he told Discovery News.
This remarkable find follows on the heels of last month's news that 5,000 year old drawings were uncovered in Mexico. Check out the images below from the archaeological discovery, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.