Cueva de las Manos: magical place in the Cañadón del Río Pinturas

Indelible traces of human beings. Signs that tell us about settlers from 9,000 years ago, who sealed their art and their testimony of life between the folds of the high walls of a cavern in which the cave art of the Cueva de las Manos is discovered.

The cave paintings of the Cueva de las Manos are the oldest traces of South American peoples found to date

Cave of the hands

Also read: “World Heritage Sites” in Argentina

Those hands, guanacos and geometric figures stamped on the stone of the cave, constitute the oldest known expression of the South American peoples. This is how UNESCO understood it, when in 1999 it was named Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Its solitary location, in the middle of the northwest of the Santa Cruz steppe, in Argentine Patagonia, allows it to be preserved almost intact.

Also read: Los Arrayanes National Park, treasure of Argentine Patagonia

The closest town, Perito Moreno, is 163 kilometers away. And beyond, near the mountain range, is Los Antiguos, which was the resting place of the elders of the disappeared indigenous tribes.

This entire area, and not just the Cave, including the Perito Moreno National Park, is a rich archaeological and paleontological site. The valleys, canyons, lakes and rivers that make it up jealously shelter cave paintings and different types of archaeological sites of men who walked its fields 14,000 years before Christ.

And among the herbs there are fossils that testify to the existence of a sea in this region long before man inhabited it. In fact, the town of Perito Moreno is called the Archaeological Capital of the Province of Santa Cruz.

The caves of the Pinturas river keep works made by the Tehuelche Indians and their predecessors. Its antiquity is 9,300 years, according to research carried out.

It comprises three cultural levels, estimated to range from 7370 BC to 1000 AD. Although this assessment is relative, since the making of the paintings could have taken place in a short period of time, almost synchronously or very far apart in time.