Saturday, September 17, 2016


Cave with wall markings (inset).
Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

Writing for LiveScience on July 20, 2016, Megan Gannon introduced the petroglyphs of Mona  Island, Puerto Rico. Citing an article in the July 19, 2016 journal Antiquity, she presented both prehistoric and Spanish settler images. This considerably expands the knowledge of rock art in the Caribbean.

Cave markings. Mona
Island, Puerto Rico.

This collection of rock art is found in caves on Mona Island, and many of the markings were made by dragging fingers or a tool through a soft surface layer on the limestone walls of the caves. Researchers reportedly found markings in thirty of seventy caves they explored, and date the oldest back to 500 years B.P.

Historic cave inscription.
Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

In one cave they found a mix of prehistoric and historic imagery. "Alongside the indigenous artwork there are names, dates, and Christian symbols like crosses and Christograms (a symbol of Christ usually consisting of letters) from the 16th century. There are also some Christian phrases and Bible verses, in Spanish and Latin, such as "dios te perdone" (may God forgive you") and "verbum caro factum est" ("and the Word was made flesh")." (Gannon 2016)

Christograms on cave wall.
Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

"In one case, a name scribbled graffiti-style on a cave wall could be tied to a real person. Francisco Alegre, who came to the Caribbean from Spain with his father in the 1530s and became a royal official in Puerto Rico." (Gannon 2016)

So much more rock art is there to be discovered, if only we look.


Gannon, Megan,

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