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Public to get access to ancient Mexican beach rock carvings

07 december 2012, 10:27
0
Thousands of years ago, long before Spanish conquistadores raided Mexico, ancient people carved circles, spirals and drawings of bow hunters into volcanic rocks dotting a Pacific beach, AFP reports.

Starting next year, the National Anthropology and History Institute plans to open up the beach to the public, giving visitors a chance to see crabs crawling and waves splashing on the ancient carvings in the state of Sinaloa.

The site, called Las Labradas, contains around 640 rocks with carvings made at least 4,000 years ago along a 340-meter long stretch of beach, near the northwestern city of Mazatlan. The site is protected by government decree.

Archeological digs in the area found projectiles and blades that are linked to the Archaic Period, an era of hunters and gatherers thousands of years ago.

Though the carvings are difficult to date more precisely, Joel Santos Ramirez, an institute researcher who led an investigation into the carvings, said they could give indications of how ancient people in that region saw the world.

These people, Ramirez said, treated the beach like a sanctuary. They did not reside there because of the scorching heat and lack of fresh water sources.

Some of the polished rocks may have been used as astronomical markers. Future studies will look into any links with the summer and winter solstice.

"All of this makes us understand why this site was of particular importance since ancient times, and this is why we need to protect it," Ramirez said.

The National Anthropology and History Institute will manage public visits to the site when it opens next year.

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