The words of Dr. Cabrera


A visit with Dr. Cabrera


(this material is an excerpt from the book "The Message of the Stones", by Dr. Javier Cabrera)


 360 kilometers south of Lima - capital of Peru - in the coastal province of Ica, there were discovered in 1961 some strange and mysterious stones shaped somewhat like river rocks. The strangeness, the mystery of the stones was that they pictured animals, men and ways of life very different from those previously discovered by students of the classical cultures of Peru. The stones came from Ocucaje, an agreeable little town located 40 kilometers south of Ica. In this region, underground, are to he found innumerable graves of men who lived in the times of the Inca and before; lying on the surface of the earth are petrified remains of both tiny and huge prehistoric animals. Ocucaje lies in an immense desert criss-crossed by mounds of ancient rocks, perhaps the oldest on the planet. There, in the solitude of the desert landscape, testimonials to the recent past and the ancient past lie side by side. And if it were not for the small fields that arise on either side of the river - dry most of the year - that crosses the desert, it might be said that this part of the world had died, that time stopped here.

The strange stones were found by the peasants of Ocucaje. Ocucaje lies in the zone where since the beginning of the century the finest ancient textiles and ceramics have been unearthed, and the peasants have dedicated themselves, generation after generation, to the clandestine practice of searching for artifacts. On a clear night, armies of men armed with picks, their faces covered so as not to breath the stench of the graves, protected by amulets to defend them against evil spirits, with the silence as their only witness, perform the enigmatic task of literally uncovering the past. For long hours these moving shadows people the desert; if someone unaware of what they were doing should happen to surprise then at their work, he would think that the dead had abandoned their endless sleep to arise from the grave and take up their lives where death had interrupted them in some unknown moment so long ago.

The unusual figures engraved on the stones amazed the archeologists who saw them: they could not he reconciled with what was known of the men who had lived in ancient Peru, and they toppled all knowledge that had been pieced together regarding that era. Doubt about the authenticity of the stones was their first response. Loyal to the notion that the oldest human beings in Peru dated from no more than 20,000 years ago and that only 3,000 years ago was there an advanced civilization to he found in the region, they could not admit the hypothesis that the stones might be evidence of a civilization much older than the classical cultures of Peru, that is to say, older than the Incas or the Pre-Incas.

The incredulity of the archeologists was communicated to the cultural authorities of the country. The engraved stones of Ica, which kept appearing and finding their way into private collections, were passed over by the archeologists and other specialists. Carlos and Pablo Soldi, who had collected the first stones that appeared in Ocucaje repeatedly requested that their specimens he studied, but the experts decided to ignore their persistent petitions. In 1966, an architect named Santiago Agurto Calvo carried out excavations in the graves of Ocucaje to try to determine if the engraved stones, of which he had a substantial collection acquired years before, came from them. Santiago Agurto Calvo was able to find some specimens which led him to believe that the stones had been carved by pre-Incaic man. It was the first time that the exact provenance of some specimens was known. But despite this conformity with the demands of the science of archeology, archeologists were still not interested in studying the stones.

Six years after the first discoveries of the engraved stones, and without being aware of the work of the Soldi brothers and of Santiago Agurto Calvo, I came across several hundred examples. My investigations in the field of biology, in connection with my lectureship at the Universidad Nacional "San Luis Gonzaga" of Ica, allowed me to identify the unusual fauna engraved on the stones as animals which paleontologists tell us existed in prehistory. By a simple process of deduction I realized that the engraved stones of Ica revealed the contemporaneous existence of man and prehistoric animals, which meant that man existed a million years ago. I knew, of course, that scientists are convinced of the idea that man, as an intelligent being, appeared - after a long, slow process of primate brain development - only 250,000 years ago; but I was forced to the conclusion that the Ica stones called into question not only conventional wisdom about the antiquity of original Peruvians but also about the appearance of man on earth. I began to collect the stones in order to study then and determine their scientific validity.

Later, after more examination, I observed that certain apparently enigmatic figures which in some cases gave the impression of being decorative, were symbols used in a system of expression. Thus the engraved stones of Ica were revealed not as evidence of an art form carved in stone, but as testimonials to the deeds and actions of human beings. After nearly ten years of patient and systematic study of the over 11,000 specimens which up my museum, I have been able to derive much valuable information, not all of which, given its variety and its sheer mass, fit in one book. They are facts that have nothing to do with the Inca or Pre-Inca cultures, cultures of Peru's recent past. On the contrary, they are proof that the engraved stones come only very rarely from the tombs of these cultures, and that man existed on earth millions of years ago. They speak of the existence of a people whose capacity to reflect, whose ability to increase and conserve knowledge led them to reach a scientific and technological level much more advanced even than today. The marks left by this humanity are to be found in many mediums, in many and varied objects from all aver the world; the figures and symbols used by other ancient cultures are part of the same system of expression that was used in the engraved stones of Ica. These signs of universality reveal that one people was established throughout the globe. Put since the medium of choice of this ancient people to leave their record was that almost eternal material, the stone I have decided to call the engraved stones "glyptoliths" and the people that left them "glyptolithic humanity".

The information conveyed in the stones of Ica contains invaluable messages left by an ancient humanity to the humanity of the future. Under strange and difficult to explain circumstances, they have been deciphered in our time. And as their messages reveal to us that man is capable of unthinkable intellectual achievements if he merely aspires to the heights that those who came before him have attained, I believe that the engraved stones of Ica are the most important legacy of our time. My belief in this has compelled me, willingly, to open my museum to the disposition not only of students and scientists but of any person who wishes to see them. When I am asked to publish my opinion about them or to share the results of my investigations, or for permission to photograph them, I have acceded with great pleasure. The 11,000 stones wait for other foreign students and scientist and, especially, for the students of the Peruvian past to examine them and confirm the truth they tell.

I think that the engraved stones of Ica explain rationally much of what we now see as enigmatic or fabulous about the past existence of man. The achievements of that remote humanity are so far beyond the present capabilities of man that, if the concrete evidence did not exist, the inferences I draw from them in this book would risk sounding like the product of an extraordinary imagination.



Ica, 6 December 1975