About Serra da Capivara National Park
Serra da Capivara National Park is in northeast Brazil and has the largest and oldest concentration of prehistoric sites in the Americas.
History of Serra da Capivara National Park
The canyons of Serra da Capivara National Park feature over 500 shelters and caves, as well as evidence of early human habitation. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1991 after the park was created to protect the prehistoric remains located in the area. The Capivara mountain range was densely populated before significant European influence in the Americas.
The park is situated in Piauí, a northeastern state of Brazil, and its landscape is characterised by canyons and the thorny shrublands known as the Caatinga. Archaeological sites in the park include Pedra Furada, Toca de Pena, Baxao de Esperanca and Sitio de Meio.
An important part of the national park is Pedra Furada, which is itself a collection of archaeological sites. In particular, charcoal remains and stone shards which may be interpreted as tools may be dated up to 48,000 years before present, and hundreds of rock paintings date from circa 10,000 BC.
At the archaeological site of Toca da Tira Peia, a rockshelter discovered in 2008, remains of human presence may date to 22,000 years ago. 113 knapped stone tools and artefacts have been recovered at the site. The site was dated using a technique which measured the natural radiation damage in excavated quartz grains.
Serra da Capivara National Park today
Visiting the Serra de Capivara National Park means travelling with an accredited tour guide, which can be found at hotels in the regions. Generally only Portuguese-speaking, some offer discounts if their services are only required for a short period of time.
It’s generally recommended to agree exactly what you want to see with the guide and for how long. Entrance to the park comes at a fee, which is half-price for Brazillians. Multiple days can be spent exploring the park.
Getting to Serra da Capivara National Park
Serra da Capivara National Park is in the northeast of Brazil and is an excellent destination for those travelling by car. Tour operators sometimes stop at the park.