Cave Art Reveals First Religious Encounters Of Europeans And Native Americans

Posted: Jul 20 2016, 10:49am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Cave Art Reveals First Religious Encounters of Europeans and Native Americans
Image of the cave discoveries. Credit: University of Leicester

Certain relics of cave art have shown evidence of European-Native American religious rites that were engaged in way back in those early times.

It has come to light that the first Europeans who landed in the New World participated in religious ceremonies with the Native Americans deep within subterranean caves.

This spiritual symbiosis is of chief significance since it shows that the encounters between the two cultures were not solely based on conflict. The caves where the meaningful rituals were engaged in exist on a Caribbean island. The religious dialogue was probably a unique and singular experience.  

A large number of colonial inscriptions lend us vital clues about this participation mystique from the past. The icons and symbols that were depicted in the caves show that what went on involved some serious and sacred undertakings.

The paper on this finding was published in the journal Antiquity.

The name of the island was Mona and it is still extant in the Caribbean region. It was a key island along the route traversed by the Spanish explorers. Christopher Columbus himself recorded the whereabouts of this island in his ledgers which he kept on his ships. 

The indigenous communities on the island encountered the waves of Europeans that arrived from the Old World. The interaction between the two races led to moments when there was a great deal of cooperation.

The competition only developed later on. A team of modern day researchers has studied the island and its religious relics in detail. Over 70 cave sites on the island of Mona have been explored.

Thousands of motifs and logos, having a spiritual nature, can be found in the pitch dark caves. There are approximately 30 historic inscriptions which include: individual epithets, sentences in Latin and Spanish, certain dates and various symbols of Christianity.  

The island’s caves are thus a rich source of religious and mystic symbolism. This rare example of radically different people uniting under the banner of a religious theocrasia of sorts is something that is worth studying in depth.

It shows that when cultures meet there are not only clashes but points of agreement and mutual harmony as well. Intercultural and interdisciplinary studies are having a field day thanks to this precious discovery of the goodness that exists in human nature.

It proves that mankind does not just make war. Friendship, peace and justice are also aspects of human existence. The transformations that occurred in the Americas were not only those of the rulers. The ruled also had their say in things and in the subtext of events, they too played their roles.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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