Monday, 7 December 2009

Would you like to learn more about who they were and how the first Americans lived? Come to Brazil.

Would you like to learn more about who they were and how the first Americans lived? Come to Brazil. With sites of about 12 thousand years old, the country is a privileged destination for archeological tourism adepts.

The major Brazilian reference in archeology is the National Serra da Capivara Park, located in the State of Piauí. Created to protect the area where the largest and most ancient archeological set of the Americas is found, it was registered in the list of Humanity’s Cultural and World Heritage in 1991.

In Serra da Capivara, surrounded by grand rocky formations and bushy vegetation, it is possible to see the marks left by pre-historic people. These traces – ceramic vases, utensils in cut and polished stone and above all, stone art, reveal that their authors had great development and technical capacity.

The primitive illustrations, present in over 700 registered sites, form a graphic communications system, one of the first in the world. They show scenes of everyday life, rituals, myths and ceremonies. Although the thematic has been the same over millennia, a more attentive analysis allows one to see the evolution of this art, which shows technical variations in drawing and painting, and in the composition of the scenes.

Other locations spread out throughout Brazil offer good tour options for archeology lovers. In the State of Piauí, it is also worth visiting the Sete Cidades National Park, with its sand walls filled with pre-historic writings of about six thousand years old. In Chapada Diamantina, State of Bahia, there are stone paintings spread out in the caverns of Lapa and Doce, attesting the human presence there ages ago. In the State of Minas Gerais, one can visit the Serra do Cipó national park, where the Danish Peter Lund discovered the mortal remains of the “ Santa Lagoon Man”, who supposedly lived there about 10 years ago. In the state of Mato Grosso, the attraction is Chapada dos Guimarães, with 50 archeological sites already catalogued, and human traces of 12 thousand years old. Finally, we have the Tijuca National Park, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, with 130 historic and archeological sites.

There are countless alternatives. Just choose one, visit and delight yourself with the archeological wealth stored in Brazil. Come, and become a fan!

Serra da Capivara National Park was granted the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco. It was created to preserve one of the world’s largest archaeological treasures: thousands of pre-historic inscriptions from six to 12 thousand years old, engraved on steep rock walls. The pictures portray the everyday aspects, the dances, the rites and ceremonies of the region’s ancient inhabitants, as well as pictures of animals, some of which are extinct. The relief seen today was formed about 240 million years ago.

Researchers found tools, pieces of ceramic utensils and burial sites at the Serra da Capivara excavations. Research on the area’s findings have led archaeologists to believe that man inhabited the American continent more than 30 thousand years ago – contradicting the theories most accepted by scientists up to this day. The cave pictures and the objects found can be seen at some of the sites which are open for visitation, among the 744 existing sites in the Park.

Today, the Serra da Capivara National Park is administered by FUMDHAM – Museum of the American Man Foundation, a private organization, in partnership with IBAMA – Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. It has an excellent structure for visitation, composed of established trails and specialized guides. The American Man Museum is located in the city of São Raimundo Nonato, a few kilometres from the park. It boasts a collection which consists of articles found during the archaeological digs within the Park.

The most impressive formation is the Toca do Boqueirao da Pedra Furada, a 15m-diameter opening in a wall more than 60 m high – the Park’s postcard. The fauna and flora are very rich and typical representations of the region’s stunted vegetation and semi-arid climate. During the rainy months – from December to May – the vegetation, which seems to be poor during the dry season, flourishes. Spotted leopards, armadillos, guinea pigs, crested seriemas, wildcats, margays, serpents, and bats live harmoniously with cereus, cacti, jujubes, and pepper trees. More than 200 species of birds have already been catalogued here.

You can visit the Park throughout the year, from 6 am to 6 pm. The heaviest concentration of visitors is during the dry season months – from June to December – when visiting conditions favour the observation of the local fauna. The hiring of a certified guide is mandatory, and it is advisable to take caps, sun lotion and water. For overnight stays, it is necessary to obtain authorization from the FUNDHAM and be accompanied by guides designated by the Park’s administration.

Serra da Capivara National Park is an 130-thousand hectare area. It is located in the southeast of the State of Piaui, near the cities of Coronel Jose Dias, Sao Raimundo Nonato, Sao Joao do Piaui, and Joao Costa.

Arriving at the Missions is like travelling through 400 years of history. This going back in time allows one to relive the incredible evangelisation work done by the Priests of the Company of Jesus and their determination to convert the Indians, who inhabited this area of the Americas, into Christians. The Mission People were basically comprised of Guarani and Tape Indians who lived in the region known, today, as the State of Rio Grande do Sul. In 1626, the Jesuits started to divide them into reductions – villages inhabited by Indians and catechisers. Between 1636 and 1639 they were attacked by explorers, but in 1682, they returned and founded the historical Sete Povos das Missões (Seven Peoples Missions). Near São Miguel we find the ruins of three reductions: São Lourenço Mártir, São João Batista and São Nicolau, which together with São Borja, São Luiz Gonzaga and Santo Ângelo complete the Seven Peoples. Over the past three years most of the ruins have been destroyed, although Santo Ângelo – the most recent – houses a magnificent cathedral, a replica of the one found in São Miguel, and an important historical museum. São Miguel was recognized as an Historical and Cultural World Heritage site in 1983, becoming Rio Grande do Sul’s main tourist and cultural attraction where visitors learn about the roots of “Gaucho” formation.

SOURCE BY.: puregon, vodeotv and

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