Serra da Capivara National Park, a World Heritage Site located in Brazil's Northeast Region, was created to protect the prehistoric artifacts and paintings found there. Over 300 archaeological sites have been found, mainly consisting of rock and wall paintings dating from 50,000 - 30,000 years ago.
Serra da Capivara National Park
Serra da Capivara National Park covers more than 129,000 ha (319,000 acres), stretched across the municipalities of São Raimundo Nonato, São João do Piauí, and Canto do Buriti in the southeastern section of Piauí state, in Brazil’s Northeast Region.
The region borders two major geological formations, the Maranhão-Piauí sediment basin and the peripheral depression of the São Francisco River.
Established in 1979, Serra da Capivara National Park covers 1,291.4 sq km (498.6 sq mi) of Caatinga, vegetation distinguished by the xeric shrubland and thorn forest typical of the semi-arid regions of northeast Brazil.
The National Park was created to protect the prehistoric artifacts and paintings found there. Over 300 archaeological sites have been found here, mainly consisting of rock and wall paintings dating from 50,000 - 30,000 years before the present.
Many of the numerous rock shelters are decorated with rock paintings, some more than 25,000 years old. According to studies, the area encompassing the Serra da Capivara National Park was occupied by hunters and gatherers, followed by ceramic-farming societies.
In 1991, Serra da Capivara National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Boqueirão da Pedra Furada
Boqueirão da Pedra Furada is an important collection of over 800 rock shelters located within the Serra da Capivara National Park. In 1973, a Brazilian and French team excavating a site in the southeastern portion of the Serra da Capivara National Park made the first discoveries.
These finds include hundreds of rock paintings dating from circa 11,000 years ago. Charcoal from very ancient fires and stone shards that may be interpreted as tools suggest the possibility of a human presence prior to the arrival of the Clovis people in North America.
The rock art of Pedra Furada depicts the use of spear throwers and traps to hunt. Archaeologists have found a lithic industry incorporating quartzite, flint, chalcedony, and quartz. However, the number of types of tools is limited, and their design is not overly elaborate.
Discoveries at the Boqueirão da Pedra Furada archaeological site suggest that human beings may have settled the region as far back as 50,000 years ago, while the oldest remaining archaeological site with surviving rock art dates back 10,530 years Before the Present.
According to UNESCO, in light of these findings, the region represents one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, and the property is an outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities in South America.
Flora and Fauna
The are of Serra da Capivara National Park harbors a reasonable diversity of plants, with 615 cataloged species. At least 208 bird species have been documented in the park and its buffer zone, including ten threatened or near-threatened species. In addition, the National Park harbors several threatened mammals and caatinga endemics.