Saturday, April 25, 2015


Ica stone of a man riding a triceratops. Wikipedia.

Whenever the conversation on dinosaurs in rock art is brought up one will invariably hear about the Ica Stones from Peru.

“The Ica stones are a collection of andesite stones found in Ica Province, Peru that bear a variety of diagrams. Some of them have depictions of dinosaurs and what is alleged to be advanced technology, and these are easily recognized as modern curiosities or hoaxes.

From the 1960s Javier Cabrera Darquea collected and popularized the stones, obtaining many of them from a farmer named Basilio Uschuya. Uschuya, after claiming them to be real ancient artifacts, admitted to creating the carvings he had sold and said he produced a patina by baking the stones in cow dung.

This is, by the way, also the method used to produce the black finish on the pots made by the famous potter Maria from San Ildefonso. It is not part of a natural weathering process at all.

Ica stone of a man fighting dinosaurs
(allosaurs or tyrannosaurs). Internet.

Some of the images are of flowers, fish, or living animals of various sorts. Others appear to depict scenes which would be anachronistic in pre-Columbian art, namely extinct animals, such as dinosaurs, advanced medical works and maps.

Ica stone illustrating brain surgery. Internet.

Meanwhile, in 1966, Peruvian physician Javier Cabrera Darquea was presented with a stone that had a carved picture of a fish, which Cabrera believed to be of an extinct species. Cabrera's father had begun a collection of similar stones in the 1930s, and based on his interest in Peruvian prehistory, Cabrera began collecting more. He initially purchased more than 300 from two brothers, Carlos and Pablo Soldi, who also collected pre-Incan artifacts, who claimed they had unsuccessfully attempted to interest archaeologists in them. Cabrera later found another source of the stones, a farmer named Basilio Uschuya, who sold him thousands more. Cabrera's collection burgeoned, reaching more than 11,000 stones in the 1970s. Cabrera published a book, The Message of the Engraved Stones of Ica on the subject, discussing his theories of the origins and meaning of the stones. In this he argued that the stones show "that man is at least 405 million years old" and that what he calls gliptolithic man, humans from another planet, and that "Through the transplantation of cognitive codes to highly intelligent primates, the men from outer space created new men on earth." The Ica stones achieved greater popular interest when Cabrera abandoned his medical career and opened a museum to feature several thousand of the stones in 1996. In 1973 during an interview with Erich von Däniken, Uschuya stated he had faked the stones that he had sold“. (Wikipedia) 

Ica stone with dinosaurs. Wikipedia.

What is so surprising to me is that some people take these things seriously. We know the old inhabitants of this area as well or better than we know the ancient inhabitants of anywhere on earth except possibly Egypt. Not only are there Spanish colonial records of what they found when they conquered their South American territories, we have a long running record of archaeological investigations. Ica is found on the coastal desert of Peru along the Pacific ocean. This is one of the driest regions in the world and preservation of organic remains is better here than almost anywhere else known to archaeologists. And in all of this there is a total lack of artifactual evidence to back up the Ica stones. What concrete evidence could we expect to find if humans and dinosaurs had coexisted in Peru? You might examine burials for injuries caused by dinosaur teeth, or for artifacts made of dinosaur teeth or bones, you might even look for the remains of small pet dinosaurs in human burials, or human remains in the stomach area of excavated dinosaurs. You would find dinosaur bones and human burials in the same soil horizons during excavations that could be dated and demonstrated to have been laid down concurrently, and the truth is we find none of that. Indeed, I have been unable to find any reference to dinosaur remains found in that area at all.

Ica stone, man attacked by dinosaur.

In his book Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum, Kenneth Feder (2010) stated: “There is, I hope needless to say, not a shred of evidence for any of this positively crazy stuff. Although he has been very difficult to pin down and while he has recanted just about every version of the story he has told, Cabrera’s major source for the Ica Stones, Basilio Uschuya, has admitted to being not the discoverer of the stones but their fabricator. Basing the images on photographs, drawings, and illustrations in magazines and books, he engraves the images onto and through the dark surface of the stones using metal knives, chisels, and a dental drill. Then, to add a patina of age to the stones, he bakes them in donkey and cow dung, which seems poetically appropriate. The Ica Stones clearly are not the most sophisticated of the archaeological hoaxes discussed in this book, but they certainly rank up there as the most preposterous.” (Feder 2010:143)

Indeed, these are so obviously fakes I have to wonder why anyone with any education or common sense at all would espouse their case. The only conclusion I can reach is that their motivation is venality, material gain from selling books, and speaker’s honorariums from giving travel speeches and creationist symposia. To me, far from supporting the bible by their position, they are dishonoring it by associating it with these prevarications and falsehoods by the most vocal proponents. 

And remember, far from reinforcing the Creationist’s belief that humans have only existed for 6,000 years, the Ica stones convinced their first investigator, Cabrera, that we have existed for 405 million years. Let’s see you fit that into Bishop Usher’s dating scheme.

Now, if you take violent exception to my statements above and wish to discuss this in a rational manner, I will be happy to correspond about it. Those of you named Anonymous who wish to only insult and threaten me, please keep your frustration to yourselves, but to all others, conversation is an art. Let us practice it together.


Feder, Kenneth L.
2010    Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum, Greenwood, Santa Barbara, Denver, and Oxford.


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