Cueva de las Manos
Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of the Hands or Cave of Hands) is a cave and complex of rock art sites in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km (101 mi) south of the town of Perito Moreno. It is named for the hundreds of hand paintings stenciled into multiple collages on the rock walls. The art in the cave dates to between 11,000 to 7,000 BC, during the Archaic period of Pre-Columbian South America, or the late Pleistocene to early Holocene geological periods. Several waves of people occupied the cave over time as evidenced by some of the early artwork that has been radiocarbon dated to about 7300 BC. The age of the paintings was calculated from the remains of bone-made pipes used for spraying the paint on the wall of the cave to create the stenciled artwork of the hand collages. The site is considered by some scholars to be the best material evidence of South American early hunter-gatherer groups.
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Official name||Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas|
|Location||Santa Cruz, Argentina|
|Inscription||1999 (23rd Session)|
|Area||600 ha (1,500 acres)|
|Buffer zone||2,331 ha (5,760 acres)|
The site was last inhabited around 700 AD, possibly by ancestors of the Tehuelche people. Argentine surveyor and archaeologist Carlos J. Gradin and his team conducted the most important research on the site in 1964, when they began excavating sites during a 30-year study of cave art in and around Cueva de las Manos. The importance of his discoveries to the country's natural and cultural heritage resulted in the site being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The site is a National Historic Monument and a National Historic Site in Argentina.