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Rock Paintings of the Sierra de San Francisco*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rock paintings and Sierra de San Francisco in the background
State Party  Mexico
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii
Reference 714
Region** Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 1993  (17th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco is the name of the prehistoric rock art found in the Sierra de San Francisco region of Baja California, Mexico.[1] They are representations of what was once the life of the Cochimi or Guachimis in the Baja California peninsula. Little is known about this group, apart from the fact that they came from further north. These paintings on the roofs of rock shelters and on the walls of Sierra de San Francisco were first discovered by the jesuit Francisco Javier in the eighteenth century. The property is made up by around 250 sites which are located in the municipality of Mulege within the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve in the state of Baja California Sur in Northern Mexico. Access to the paintings is difficult due to the isolation of the place which has prevented them from being victims of vandalism.

According to old beliefs, the paintings were drawn by a race of giants, this is supported by the size of some human figures which are two meters tall. They are full of a magic-religious content. Other motifs include weapons and animal species such as rabbit, puma, lynx, deer, wild goat/sheep, whale, turtle, tuna, sardine, octopus, eagle and pelican; there are also abstract elements of various forms. Perhaps they are related to the culture of groups of nomadic hunters from northern Mexico and southern United States before the conquest of America, they don't show any relation to the art of those groups. The paintings vary in age from 1100 BC to AD 1300.

The area has the most important concentration of prehispanic art in the Baja California Peninsula. It is of exceptional quality at both national and international scale, for its high quality, its extent, the variety and originality of human and animal representations, its remarkable colors, and its excellent state of preservation. The rock paintings of Sierra de San Francisco were nominated in 1989 and became a World Heritage Site in 1993.

See also


  1. ^ Danny Palmerlee. 2007. Baja California and Los Cabos, 308 pages

External links

Coordinates: 17°29′00″N 92°02′59″W / 17.4833°N 92.0497°W / 17.4833; -92.0497



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