Scientists and researchers from the University of Tennessee have found some of America's oldest cave and rock art.
The drawings were recently found on the Cumberland Plateau and most date back to around 500 years ago. However, radiocarbon dating says one painting was made about 6,000 years ago.
Scientists say the drawings show deep thought, how people viewed the world and their place in it.
"Our findings provide a window into what Native American societies were like beginning more than 6,000 years ago," said University of Tennessee anthropology professor Jan Simek. "They tell us that the prehistoric peoples in the Cumberland Plateau, a section of the Appalachian Mountains, used the rather distinctive upland environment to map their conceptual universe onto the natural world in which they lived."
Researchers think the collection of paintings is part of a pattern that stretches from Kentucky to Alabama.
Simek and his team analyzed 44 open-air art sites, where the art is exposed to light, and 50 other cave art sites in the Cumberland Plateau.
It's unclear if the art will be opened to the public.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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