An image of a horned owl was impressed into the wet clay of Mud Glyph Cave, Tennessee, around 1300 AD.

(CNN)

An image of a horned owl was impressed into the wet clay of Mud Glyph Cave, Tennessee, around 1300 AD.

CNN: Ancient Cave Paintings Show Deep Thinking by Natives

Last night, CNN.com produced an interesting report on the U.S.'s oldest cave and rock art, recently discovered in Tennessee. At more than 6,000 years old, the new, groundbreaking finds shed light on how prehistoric Native Peoples lived and what they thought and believed.

"The paintings and carvings have been scattered around the caves and bluff faces of the Cumberland Plateau for centuries, left behind by the ancestors of the Native American nations of the Southeast," says CNN.

Now a lengthy survey of the works indicates they're all part of a pattern — a sweeping, interrelated series that illustrates how the continent's prehistoric inhabitants saw the universe and their place in it, University of Tennessee anthropologist Jan Simek told CNN.

"There is this cosmology being expressed … and one of the things we're trying to suggest is the composition has an enormous scale," Simek said.

"The art sites, predominantly found in caves, feature otherworldly characters, supernatural serpents and dogs that accompanied dead humans on the path of souls," Simek and his colleagues wrote in the paper on their findings published in the British-based scientific journal Antiquity. The images are largely painted in black, a color associated with death.

To the read the entire CNN report, which includes an image gallery, click HERE.

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