Intricate petroglyphs, nearly 1,500 years old, have been discovered in the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The ancient carvings are the first of their kind to be found in the Lesser Antilles island, with similar markings previously seen in the northern part of South America as well as certain regions in the Caribbean. According to archaeologists, the rock art was uncovered this January by hikers, but only recently announced by the Montserrat National Trust.
Believed to be somewhere between 1,000 to 1,500 years old, the petroglyphs could provide valuable information about the lives of natives in the region, before it was colonized by Europeans. While the carvings are yet to be examined with the help of radiocarbon dating, experts have revealed that they depict complex geometric patterns and designs of some type of creature. Speaking about the find, Sarita Francis, head of the Montserrat National Trust, said:
We have Amerindian artifacts on the island, but had not seen petroglyphs. These are the first that we know of that have been found here.
As the authorities point out, local hikers, Shirley Osborne and Barzey, stumbled across these ancient rock art, which actually bear resemblance with carvings seen in the neighboring island of St. Kitts. According to George Mentore, a professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia, similar petrogyphs have been observed in the Amazon region in South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Hispaniola. The announcement by the Montserrat National Trust stated:
So far though found throughout the Caribbean islands, they were not found in Montserrat neither in Antigua. This is a new and exciting find from Montserrat.
First inhabited back in 3,000 BC, the islands of Lesser Antilles were later home to the Arawak people. Historical records indicate that the Arawak people were driven out in the 15th century by Caribs, which was why when Christopher Columbus came across this island in 1493, it was virtually uninhabited. At present, however, the region is inhabited by people of African and Irish descent.
Measuring around 16 km (or 10 miles) by 11 km (approx. 7 miles) in area, Montserrat has been a British Overseas Territory, since it was claimed by Britishers in 1632. Following the arrival of European colonialists, the island turned into a hotbed of conflict between the natives and the invaders. It has a long history of struggle between the Carib Indians, settlers and African slaves. The island was attacked and captured several times by French forces, until finally it was restored to British possession.
The discovery, the researchers believe, could enhance our understanding of Montserrat’s early history before the coming of the European colonialists.
Via: Ancient Origins