Thousands of millennia-old stone etchings believed to have been made by hunter-gatherers roaming northern Mexico are being catalogued by archeologists.

The carvings, known as petroglyphs, are deemed to be around 6,000 years old and consist of wavy lines, concentric circles and even images of deer that the artists were probably tracking. The archaeologists found around 8,000 of these drawings at the site in Narigua, in northern Mexico.

Experts examining the site believe that the etchings are either part of the hunter-gatherer society’s initiation rites or the representation of stars. Gerardo Rivas, an archeologist for Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), said the petroglyphs were found in a settlement that, while believed to be only a temporary stopover, still contained the remains of cooking implements and stoves.

Rivas added that the findings could reveal clues as to how the people built tools and what level of sophistication their society had. There are also indications that the inhabitants of the area lived in huts, which were in some cases portable.

Along with the petroglyphs, researchers have found some 500 stones with decorations on them at the site, which measures two miles in radius and is said to be the most important in the Mexican state of Coahuila, given its high number 'petrograbados.'

Archaeologists also found carvings or modern crosses that they believe were either left by the Spanish or indigenous converts in the 16th century.

While the archaeologists are still hard at work cataloguing all the stones – a process that began last August – they soon plan to open the area up to tourists at the site, which lies around 60 miles west of the Mexican city of Monterrey.

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