An ancient ‘stone goat’ covered in strange rock paintings has been discovered in central China. The ‘incredible’ relic was found by a team of student archaeologists led by Ma Baoguang in Yangce Town, Biyang County, Henan Province.
The goat, which is 8m long and 3.7m wide, is covered in around 500 of the paintings, which consist of rounded craters joined by lines to create what experts believe may be an ancient map of the region, famous for the village of Banpo and Yangshao culture. Several larger craters have also been spotted. “It is quite incredible that a large stone goat carries ‘Hetu and Luoshu’ (maps of the Yellow and Luo rivers) on its back,” says Mr Ma.
In just one week Mr Ma and his team have discovered over a thousand of the hieroglyphic roundels, in just a 5km area which includes villages such as Chenzhou, Tangligou, Xuzhuang, Leigutai, Anzhai and Guogang.
If the markings are an ancient map, they may have some way to go to steal the title of ‘world’s oldest’ away from one in the northern Spanish town of Abauntz, which was deciphered last October. Abauntz’ map dates back around 14,000 years, while one in the ancient Turkish city of atalhyk dates back to around 6,200 BC. Read our top ten cave paintings here.