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Amazing rock paintings in Lago Verde

 Estimated reading time: 2 min.Texts Mónica Pons   Photos Eduardo Epifanio
Rock paintings in Lago Verde

A rock rises on the plains. It displays drawings printed in red by the natives who dwelled the area hundreds of years ago.

If anybody tells us that there are rock paintings in the area we are visiting, several questions arise in our minds: how long have they been there? How is it possible that they are still there? Are they real? What should we know in order to decipher their meaning?

We had started conversation with Cristian Solís, a hiking guide born in the area, and we found the topic quite interesting. Afterwards, there came the formal invitation to accompany him up to those rock walls where there are some well-defined forms and others that are currently being studied by experts.

Curiosity made us accept and we set out following the road to the Argentinian border, Las Pampas Pass. As we reached the milestone marking the international boundary, we took a detour to the right following a local path.

It was the ideal moment to chat and to learn that some of the first families that settled down in the area came from Argentina. Cristian has the same surname as the first colonists and he has walked this land ever since he was a little boy.

An Accidental Finding

He told us that he had gone across that area a thousand times and that he used to watch some reddish spots that had always caught his eye. Until on one occasion, when he was with a group of friends, they reached that place and were astonished at what they had just found.

We had already walked almost 3 kilometers when we came before a large white rock wall displaying the paintings.
Rock paintings in Lago Verde
A Shelter in the Cliff

As we came closer, we made out some real-size hand shapes whose fingers were smaller than ours. In turn, we saw a sequence of almost parallel lines: they were 76 in all.

Cristian went on telling us that the finding attracted archeologists specialized in the subject and that they confirmed the authenticity of the rock paintings. What was strange was the fact that this kind of findings usually takes place inside caverns or caves and, in this case, the paintings were quite exposed to the wind erosion. Their location was high, above our heads.
Rock paintings in Lago Verde
They have been attributed to unknown ethnic groups, communities who would have dominated the area, as they would have a broad vision from that point. Maybe they were hunters who moved from one place to another chasing some prey. Afterwards, the Tehuelche indians occupied this place.

Carbon-14 tests have estimated the age of the rock paintings in 9,000 years B.P. These paintings are similar to those found at Puerto Ibáñez, in Southern Chile.

Once we overcame the amazement, we could catch a glimpse of Lake Verde from that spot. The lake turquoise waters glittered in the horseshoe area.
Rock paintings in Lago Verde
On our way back, Cristian offered us a book specialized in rock paintings which tells about the finding of these marks made hundreds of years ago by beings from whom we only have vestiges of their pass through this land.

Whenever we go on vacations, we know that not only will we see new destinations but we will also learn something interesting.
Useful Data
3 kilometers away from Lago Verde.
Gravel road
Hiking or high truck recommended.
Cristian Solís - Guía de Trekking
(5960000) Lago Verde - XI Región - Chile
Tel: +56 67 221-1871  
Facultad Ciencias Sociales - Antropología
Universidad de Chile - Alero Las Quemas (5960000) Lago Verde - XI Región - Chile

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