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Oldest Known US Cave Art Discovered in Cumberland Plateau

University of Tennessee science professor Jan Simek, leader of the team that discovered the 6,000-year-old art, says he is far from finished looking for more. The discovery found in the Cumberland Plateau, a division of the Appalachian Mountains extending from southern West Virginia to northern Alabama, is featured in the June issue of "Antiquity," the archeological journal published by Britain's Durham University.
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This 1,200 AD drawing, found on an open bluff in Alabama, depicts an anthropomorphic figure and two circles. Drawings found in the open air were almost always painted red. (Photo: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity
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This 1,200 AD drawing, found on an open bluff in Alabama, depicts an anthropomorphic figure and two circles. Drawings found in the open air were almost always painted red. (Photo: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity

This image of cave art from an open bluff in North Alabama depicts a human figure, possibly the shaman/artist himself, 1,200 AD. (Photo credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications Ltd.)
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This image of cave art from an open bluff in North Alabama depicts a human figure, possibly the shaman/artist himself, 1,200 AD. (Photo credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications Ltd.)

An unknown symbol similar to those appearing in early religious drawings is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Tennessee, taken in Dunbar Cave in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Photo credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications Ltd.)
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An unknown symbol similar to those appearing in early religious drawings is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Tennessee, taken in Dunbar Cave in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Photo credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications Ltd.)

A 6,000-year-old charcoal pictograph showing what could be a human hunting is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Tennessee, taken in a cave located in Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications LTD.)
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A 6,000-year-old charcoal pictograph showing what could be a human hunting is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the University of Tennessee, taken in a cave located in Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood / Antiquity Publications LTD.)

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