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Among the finds were around 7,000 lithic artefacts, 600 of which were made from quartz and were relatively dated to the Pleistocene era.

The rock art is located underneath a cathedral-like 150m cliff.

A series of excavations between19 and extending some 5m below the surrounding floor level obtained over 60 dates from mainly undisturbed archaeological horizons; several of these datable deposits actually covered rock art, abutting the rock-shelter wall.

Nonetheless, this is not the only site to provide early dating evidence of the likelihood that the people were in Brazil far earlier than previously thought: other sites such as Tocada Entrada do Pajaú and Toca do Paraguaio, both in the Serra da Capivara National Park; Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands) in Patagonia, Argentina ; and the hearths near the Monte Verde sites in Los Lagos in Chile, have all yielded ancient datable deposits that greatly predate 10,000 BC- the assumed date that people first moved into North America.

When analysed, these only revealed dates of between 6,500 and 5,000 BC.

A possible vulture painted on the Toca da Entrada do Pajaú rock art shelter (left).

Of course, dating the art is extremely difficult given the total absence of organic pigmentation that might be C-14 dated.

However, there are a small number of sites that are giving-up their secrets through good systematic excavation.

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Along with the painted fragments, crude stone tools were found made from locally formed quartz pebble conglomerates.Also surviving the harsh acidic soils were coprolites (fossilised human faeces).

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