His efforts and interest revealed dozens more images of ancient hunters, tribal dances, deities and beasts that belong to thousands of years ago.
All are thousands of years old, but some of the markings, such as a line of cup marks that may have been used in religious ceremonies, could be much older, The Independent reported.
Dutch enthusiasts who visited the area with Naserifard, Iranian archeologist, in 2008 dated the cup marks to more than 40,000 years ago, putting them among the oldest rock art on the planet. But getting definitive data has been all but impossible for Iranian archaeologists.
“We were on a picnic and all my friends were taking an afternoon nap. I went wandering and observing the rocks in the valley and I found a rock full of shapes,” he said. “I was so excited! Finding these works was like finding a treasure, “Naserifard stated.
“His work is really important; there have been these blank spots on the map that we are finally starting to fill in,” said Genevieve von Petzinger, a Canadian cave art expert and author of “The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols.”
The engravings could even date back to when humans made their first forays out of Africa, she said.
Naserifard’s discoveries support the growing evidence that humans may have started to develop a common art tradition before leaving Africa, which might explain why the same themes and shapes have turned up in sites as far-flung as California, Spain and South Africa.
“Iran could be a really important part of the puzzle. It is a very strategic location, humans migrated through there heading both east and west,” said von Petzinger.
The Khomein hills are typical of rock art locations around the world – a once-fertile riverside spot that supported sizeable settlements.