This is the giant prehistoric wall engraving of a wild bull which has been discovered in Portugal and is now the largest ever found on the Iberian Peninsula.
The engraving was discovered at the Vale do Coa Archaeological Park in northeastern Portugal and is part of a panel of newly found engravings believed to be 23,000 years old.
The team of archaeologists from the park said in a press statement that the panel is more than six metres (20 feet) long and contains more than 20 palaeolithic engravings.
The team, led by Thierry Aubry – the new technical and scientific manager of the Coa Museum and Archaeological Park of Vale do Coa – started excavation work near rock 9 of Fariseu, one of the main rock art areas in the valley, earlier this year.
The discovery came from a trail engraved next to rock 9 which continued under the soil.
Excavation work shows the trail was actually the back of the auroch (wild bull) which has now been fully exposed and measures 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) in length.
The team said the carving was the largest figure in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in the world.
Other animals inside the bull were also discovered which had been created through pricking and abrasion were a female deer and her calf.
Another set of engravings were discovered on the right-hand side of the panel containing representations of aurochs, deer and horses which are still partially under sediment and can be seen in colours in the photos.
The team said the figures appear to be part of the oldest phase of art in the valley dated over 23,000 years ago.
The fact that the panel was found under archaeological layers allows it to be given a minimum date, according to the team who say this is the only way to objectively date the art in the valley as it is impossible to date directly by Carbon 14 dating.
The team said they will continue to work in the area to discover why the carvings at the site were made.
Work at the site has been suspended in the COVID-19 pandemic but the team say “work will continue as soon as current measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic allow it to”.
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