UCA professor discovers ancient rock painting

Dr. Reinaldo (Dito) Morales Jr., assistant professor of art history at UCA, has confirmed a major discovery in the world of rock art: an ancient rock painting at a burial site from the Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru.Morales announced his discovery today at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Atlanta and plans to submit a manuscript about his discovery, New Rock Art at Old Machu Picchu, to a scholarly journal.

Dr. Jeff Young, chair of the Department of Art, said he believes Morales’ discovery could be a significant contribution to the research at Machu Picchu as well as a great step for UCA’s department.

“As faculty, we are always excited when one of our colleagues accomplishes something of note,” Young said. “It will be interesting, as he publishes his findings, to see how other rock art researchers, art historians and archeologists respond to his research.”

Morales discovered the painting in 2000 while on a three-day graduate school research trip. The painting is located on a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, Machu Picchu, which has been the subject of scientific study for nearly 100 years.

However, after trying to find research on the painting over the past eight years, Morales said he has not found any mention of this particular painting even though the nearly 50-foot rock on which it appears is a popular tourist attraction passed by approximately 70,000 tourists in 2007 alone.

“I have pored through the [research] literature,” Morales said. “I am still waiting on a couple more things that may come in, but I don