Serra da Capivara National Park

An outstanding testimony to one of the oldest human communities of South America

UNESCO World Heritage

Breathtaking landscapes by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Serra da Capivara National Park is the largest and oldest concentration of Prehistoric sites in the Americas as well as splendid place with beautiful nature.

Many of the numerous rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara National Park are decorated with cave paintings, some of which are more than 25,000 years old. The region represents one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world.

Inscription on the World Heritage List by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

In 1991 the park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  The inscribed property contains a multiplicity of attributes that warrant its Outstanding Universal Value. It is endowed with a network of sites converging to forge a rich collection of pre-historic elements enabling extensive research into the region’s environment, wildlife, plant life, and earliest inhabitants.

A National Park since 1979 by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Park covers nearly 129,140 ha and has a circumference of 214 km. It is situated in the morphoclimatic zone of the Brazilian Caatinga, distinguished by the multiplicity of plant formations typical of the semi-arid regions of Northeast Brazil.

The region borders two major geological formations – the Maranhão-Piauí sediment basin and the peripheral depression of the São Francisco River – and is endowed with a diversity of relief vegetation and landscapes of breathtaking beauty and dotted with exceptional vistas of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and plains.

Serra da Capivara National Park by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Many of the numerous rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara National Park are decorated with rock paintings. The analyses and dating of the evidence and artefacts found in the Serra da Capivara National Park serve to confirm the millennial presence of human beings on the American continent and the importance of the heritage.

A well-preserved site by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Over 300 archaeological sites have been found within the park, the majority consisting of rock and wall paintings dating from 50,000-30,000 years Before Present.

Explore the surrounding valleys.

Serra da Capivara National Park by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The ensemble of archaeological sites contains dating evidence that has thoroughly revolutionized classical theories regarding the entry route into the Americas by human populations along the Bering Strait. According to studies, the area encompassing the Serra da Capivara National Park was occupied by hunters and gatherers, followed by ceramic-farming societies. 

Discoveries at the Boqueirão da Pedra Furada archaeological site suggest that human beings may have settled the region as far back as 50,000 years ago, while the oldest remaining archaeological site with surviving rock  art dates back 10,530 years Before Present.

Breathtaking landscapes by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage


The park contains beautiful panoramic views of sandstone formations, canyons, ruinforms and boqueirões in its geological landscape.

A diversity of relief vegetation by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Serra da Capivara National Park is within a typical vegetation of Northeastern Brazil, the caatinga. However, this place also contains pieces of cerrado forests on its northern limit.

Serra da Capivara National Park by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

There are boqueirões in Serra das Capivaras National Park with high humidity; they contain tall evergreen trees, predominantly some typical species of the area, like, the gameleira. The rock gardens formed by cacti and bromeliads are common over the rock formations.

A rich fauna by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

This fascinating place is also home to a rich fauna, with the presence of armadillos, anteaters, jaquaratingas, jacus, cotias, deer, catingueiros, forest pigs, capuchin monkeys, lizards, snakes and even jaguars.

Link with local community by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

In addition to this history and culture, the Serra da Capivara National Park provides great insights into heritage preservation practices. A protection policy has been established, which includes the integration of the Park´s surrounding population with preservation actions.

An economic and social development project was also implemented to educate and engage communities to act in various areas, such as: infrastructure works, management, ecological and cultural tourism.

Museums by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Serra da Capivara National Park and the area’s conservation have emerged as essential to the region’s future by virtue of the growth and expansion of archaeological ecotourism, a key driver of economic development in the area. 
The park also hosts modern museums where you can learn more about the World Heritage site.

Serra da Capivara National Park by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Serra da Capivara National Park bears exceptional testimony to one of the oldest populations to inhabit South America. It constitutes and preserves the largest ensemble of archaeological sites, and the the oldest examples of rock art in the Americas. Moreover, the iconography of the paintings allows us to identify information about  the region’s early peoples.

Serra da Capivara National Park by Serra da Capivara National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Serra da Capivara National Park contains evidence of the settlement by cultural groups in the area for thousands of years. These groups successfully developed practices and pattern tailored to the environment, in addition to rich and complex cultural expressions, as reflected in the surviving art work.

The surviving rock art provides tangible proof of cultural wealth of these pre-colonial peoples in Brazil. The authenticity of the diverse archaeological remains is unquestionable and conditions have been largely preserved with the conservation measures that have been implemented to date.

Visit one of the archeological site of the National Park.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Embratur. www.embratur.gov.br
More on Serra da Capivara National Park and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/606
Photos: Embratur

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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