TechThey are thousands of years old and resemble human faces. The drought has just revealed them

They are thousands of years old and resemble human faces. The drought has just revealed them

One of the rock carvings on the bank of the Praia das Lajes river in Brazil.
One of the rock carvings on the bank of the Praia das Lajes river in Brazil.
Images source: © Licensor

5:42 PM EDT, October 23, 2023

The Amazon has recently been struck by a severe drought, causing suffering to the natural environment. The record low water level, however, has also led to something good. The decrease in water level revealed a multitude of rock formations that typically remain submerged in muddy water. On the rocks, researchers discovered engravings depicting human figures which date back thousands of years.

Ancient rock reliefs have been found near Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon. They were discovered thanks to a record low water level in the Negro River, which recorded the largest decrease in 121 years. The findings delighted both the public and scientists, although the alarming drop in the water level also caused concern.

This region of the Brazilian Amazon is particularly negatively affected by drought, as falling waters make the complex network of waterways used for transport useless. The usually bustling riverbanks are dry and filled with abandoned boats. The Brazilian government has directed emergency aid forces to that region.

According to scientists, the drastic impact of the dry season is related to El Niño haunting the Pacific Ocean. This climate system disrupts normal weather and amplifies the effects of climate change, but thanks to it, it was possible to find a historic discovery for South American culture.

Most of the rites on the riverside rocks resemble human faces, smiling or gloomy. Some of them have rectangular shapes, and others are oval. According to scientists, they are an expression of emotions and feelings that gripped their creators, and they could have been created as long ago as 2,000 years ago.

Ancient bas-relief of a face
Ancient bas-relief of a face© Licensor

A small portion of the currently found carvings were observed earlier, during another, less severe drought, which occurred in 2010. The faces found at that time were discovered at a site called Praia das Lajes.

For scientists, these carvings constitute an "invaluable" aid in understanding the first people who inhabited these areas. However, to prevent unfavorable surface conditions from erasing and destroying the ancient carvings, scientists are looking for a way for the find to be quickly submerged again.

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