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Analysis of the art has revealed the secrets of the prehistoric artists behind the stunning artwork known as the Karakol paintings, reports the Siberian т¡мes.

D̳i̳s̳c̳o̳v̳e̳r̳e̳d̳ in the remote Altai mountains, the A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ artists of the region drew a series of humanoid figurines with strange additions: some of them have round horns, and halos, while others are depicted with feathers on their heads.They have found that the red hues in the tomb drawings were made of thermally modified ocher, a clay made from Earth.

5,000-Year-Old Rock Art Depicting “Celestial Bodies” R̳e̳v̳e̳a̳l̳e̳d̳ in SiberiaCelestial’ rock art images by A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ painters some 5,000 years ago were made with a sophisticated scientific understanding which has stunned experts. Paintings from the Altai Mountains of Siberia show a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ or heavenly figures with horns and feathers on their heads

Scientists were stunned by the fact that the drawings were made in three colours, white, red and black, the first case of polychrome rock paintings ever found in Siberia.

The white shades were made by scraping which revealed light-reflecting rock crystals, while soot was used for the black in the paintings.

Scientists from the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, Russia’s leading research and development centre for nuclear energy, said that the red colours especially fascinate the experts.

It is apparent that some 5,000 years ago the tomb painters knew how to carry out a chemical reaction in order to create not just a red colour but the precise tones they desired by varying the temperature of heating.

Roмคห Senin, head of the synchrotron research department at Kurchatov Institute, said: ‘We determined the phased composition of pigments, that is, the structure of the crystal lattice of individual grains of the dye.

‘Some structures are not typical for natural samples but are the product of heat treatment.The remains of people buried inside the stone graves were also painted with the same colours, with spots of red ocher found below eye sockets and traces of a black and silvery mineral called Specularite prominent in eyebrows area.

But then comes the really fascinating aspects of these ancient paintings.

The colourful images on these stones were made at different т¡мes, and using an elaborate technique grounded in science.

The earliest were engraved visuals of elks, mountains goats and running people with round horns on their heads.

Then slabs of rock with the petroglyphs were broken off the mountain, taken into the tomb and turned upside down to decorate its insides.

Next and slightly on top of the petroglyphs were made drawings of eleven human-like figures.

To complete them, the prehistoric artists had to do a lot more than just mixing the techniques of engraving and drawing with mineral paints.

White shades were made by scraping which revealed light-reflecting rock crystals, while soot was used for the black in the paintings. It is the red colours that especially fascinate the experts

5,000-Year-Old Rock Art Depicting “Celestial Bodies” Revealed in SiberiaFull results of the new study will be presented at the 43rd International Symposium on Archeometry in May 2020 in Lisbon. It is also clear that ancient people broke off rocks on local mountains already decorated at an earlier т¡мe with petroglyphs

On top of the petroglyphs were superimposed pictures of 11 human-like figures. The different colour tones are seen as carrying meanings to the prehistoric people.

While the funeral rites of these ancient mountain-dwellers are not yet understood, the techniques of the painters is now clear, say the scientists. The Karakol artworks date to the early and middle Bronze Age.


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