A sample was taken of the water dripping from the ceiling so researchers could conduct a chemical analysis.
Many of the symbols carved into the cave walls remain undetermined, and other cultural records that may have been destroyed by the Spanish are needed to decipher them.
Much of the artwork was intended to depict life on Mona Island — here's a depiction of a person wearing a feather headdress.
Tales of the sun and moon
The Taíno people believed that the sun and moon emerged from the ground, so they traveled deep into caves and worked by torchlight in these spiritual places.
While some of the art (left) was rubbed into the outer surface to create negative images, other sections (right) were deliberately wiped away.
It's unclear exactly how the Mona rubbed negative images like this into the cave walls, but they likely used their fingers or finger-sized tools.
The scientists used reflected light microscopy to analyze cross sections of paints found in the caves in hopes of learning how it was made.
While charcoal was used as a secondary material next to the paint mixtures, some of the drawings were drawn using the charcoal from torches.
Exploring cave art
The scientists were surprised to learn how old the artwork is. Previously, Mona Island's cave art was assumed to be from later in history because of how well-preserved it is.
Tunnels and caverns
One of the archaeologists who explored Mona Island's caves monitoring the water that likely caused speleothems throughout the tunnels and caverns.
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