(this material is an excerpt from the book "The Message of the Stones", by Dr. Javier Cabrera)
THE MYSTERY OF THE CARVINGS
Daily exposure to the stones was gradually permitting to penetrate the mysteries of the stones designs. The stones are of different sizes, weight, and color. The smallest weigh 15-20 grams, and the largest about 500 kilograms. They are grey, black, yellowish, and pinkish. They are shaped like river rocks, the pebbles and small boulders seen on river barks, beaches, and alluvial plains. But river rocks are notable for their durability; the Ica stones, on the other hand, are so fragile that if one knocks against another or is dropped to the floor, it will shatter. This singular characteristic of the stones was suggested when I first held the one given to me by my friend Liosa Romero. I refer to its high specific gravity compared to the river rock.
From the outset I felt that mere contemplation, no matter how serious, of the figures engraved on the stones was not sufficient to understand them. Before an object of art, perhaps, such contemplation would have sufficed. But observation had raised more questions than it had answered, making me suspect that the carvings had been conceived with a purpose in mind other than to amuse or engage the eye. It occurred to me that perhaps the designs conveyed some message. This idea kept recurring; I began to think that the etchings might be some unknown form of writing, in which the figures were symbols that represented objects, subjects, qualities, attitudes, circumstances, events. Operating on this principle, I set myself to deciphering this strange form of writing.
But then I remembered something that momentarily deterred my progress: the findings of historical investigations on ancient Peru all agreed that the Incas and Pre-Incas lacked a system of writing. This led me to restate the problem in the form of a question: are the Ica stones art or a form of writing? I had noted during my long hours and days spent observing the stones that they lacked plan, proportion, and perspective. I remembered that the absence of these elements also characterized the drawings left by cultures like the Sumerians and the Egyptians (from 6000 years ago), considered much older than the Incas or Pre-Incas, drawings that all concede are a form of writing. I was more than ever convinced that the Ica stones contained a form of writing that only could have existed in a past much earlier than the Inca or Pre-Inca periods.
I found myself, as a result of these ruminations, at the door that could lead me to an understanding of the strange messages that these ancient men had carved. This obliged me to study the stones even more carefully. After a systematic review of the 6000 samples that made up my collection, I realized that in many stones the designs seemed to repeat themselves. Comparative analysis revealed, however, that even when two figures were very similar, the presence of one or more new elements inserted in the design, or variations in the posture of figures, animal and vegetable, as well as changes in the placement of objects, made each design unique. I then began to separate into groups stones with superficial likeness to each other. It was at this point that I discovered something that meant a big step forward in my investigation: each group of stones made up a series built around a theme and, within these series, the design of each stone presented a different aspect of the theme. Examining the themes, I found that they revolved around aspects of the human knowledge. But if the nature of the theme could be determined at a single glance, it was harder to know precisely the significance of each part of the design. It seemed that, in order to decipher the system of expression used, I would have to have at my disposal more stones so as to avoid inferences based on incomplete series. To this end I began increasing my collection, all the while continuing my study of the system of expression which would permit me to extract the information, the messages contained in the drawings.
With the new acquisitions and the ordering of the stones in series, my collection began to present a more logical vision of the engravings, since each series had its own compartment on my shelves. The series were arranged around relating to astronomy, biology, zoology, anthropology, transportation, rituals, fishing, hunting, etc. It is worthy of note that the human figures had a different form from that of modern man and for that matter from the Inca and Pre-Inca (which are, after all, modern man), although certain ornaments that the figures wore on their heads looked like the three feathers the Incas used to denote power and nobility (Fig. 3).
FIGURE 3: Human figure engraved on an Ica stone.
It is also noteworthy that the animals, while they bore resemblances to modern creatures, had characteristics which set them apart. I consulted manuals of Paleontology (6) to be certain, and I found that they had a morphological affinity to prehistoric animals. The stones show, for example, horses and llamas with five toes (Fig. 4 and 5); megatherium (huge giant sloth bear, Fig. 6); alticamellus (a mammal with the head and neck of a giraffe and the body of a camel, Fig. 7); Megaceros (giant deer, Fig. 8); mammoths (primitive elephants, Fig. 9); diatrymas (giant carnivorous birds, Fig. 10);
FIGURE 4: Horse with five toes (phenacodus), extinct 40 million years.
FIGURE 5: Llama (Lama Auchenia) with fives toes, extinct 40 million years.
FIGURE 6: Megatherium, huge, slow-moving bear, extinct 1 Billion years.
FIGURE 7: Alticamellus, manual with head and neck of giraffe and body of camel, extinct 13 million years.
FIGURE 8: Megaceros, giant deer, extinct 1 million years.
FIGURE 9: Primitive elephant, extinct 1 million years.
FIGURE 10: Diatrymas, large carnivorous bird, extinct 40 Billion years.
and other animals. This could only mean that the people who had carved these stones lived in a time that much preceded the Incas or the Pre-Incas. I remembered that in 1920 the doctor and archeologist Julio C. Tello had studied Tiahuanaco-influenced artifacts in which llamas appeared with five toes, like the prehistoric llamas, extinct for 40 million years (I derive this date from analogy with the evolution of equine animals). These representations in the queros were attributed to the imaginations of Precolombian artists, who it was assumed, wished to invest the llama with human characteristics. The possibility that man and these animals coexisted was dismissed. But later Tello found in Peru fossilized skeletons of the llama with five toes. This discovery, which ought to have suggested to paleontologists and archeologists the possible coexistence of man and prehistoric animals, passed unnoticed, despite the fact that present day llamas come from Peru (7).
I remembered also that in 1865 Ephrain George Squier, an early Northamerican archeologist, after long and careful study of the civilizations of ancient Peru, had claimed that Peruvian culture existed in two culturally differentiated epochs: one in the remote past, possessed of a high technology and culture, and another - that of the Incas - very close to contemporary man, with low levels of technology and culture. Squier thought that between the two epochs an indiscernible amount of time had passed. He also thought that the huge stone edifices spread across Peru were left by a remote culture. Squier says: "From what period do they date? They were, of course, the result of a gradual evolution, the last stage of progress. But where are the rest of the stages, where are the monuments that mark the antecedents of this evolution?... Weren't those works built, inspired, or suggested by an exotic people, fully developed, by immigrants or masters of much older civilizations, of civilizations of which this one is no more than a copy, a caricature?" (8). And he answers that there exists some evidence in Peru of a remote past, such as the ruins of Tiahuanaco, which, he affirms, are as admirable as the ruins of Assyria, Egypt, Greece, or Rome, and that the sundials of Sillustani are so similar to those of England, Denmark, and Tartary that only the most discerning eye could tell the difference. As regards the hypothesis that the ancestors of the Peruvians had been imported from across the sea or that their civilizations were imported, he asserts that even if this were the case, "there is still evidence that their arrival in Peru predates all human record" (9).
The discovery of Tello and the argument of Squier confirm that the Ica stones suggest: the existence of a Peruvian culture of unknown antiquity, but very much older than the Incas or the Pre-Incas. This made me reflect on the attitude of archeologists toward the discoveries they make in excavating Inca or Pre-Inca graves. The textile, ceramics, carved stones, necklaces, tools, weapons, food, and other objects that they often find next to a mummified body are assured to have belonged to the dead or his contemporaries, by the arbitrary rule of association, a basic tenet of the archeological method. The arbitrariness of applying this rule derives from the fact that they do not consider the possibility that at least some of the objects found were not made by the occupant of the tomb or his contemporaries; he may just have found the object himself, and not having at hand an explanation for where it came from nor what it represented, may have thought it came from the gods and would be a good thing to deposit in his grave to accompany him to his next life. It is also possible that although the object may have been made by the Inca or Pre-Inca man, the design or the style was not of his conception, but was instead copied from another object which, generations and generations of copies before, was conceived by a culture that lived in the remote past.
Tello and Squier's words were confirmed by a startling discovery that I made studying my new acquisitions: I found figures of prehistoric animals even older than the ones I had already identified. There were megacheiroptera (huge bats), dinosaurs (giant reptiles), and agnata (primitive fish without maxillae, all animals that the paleontologists tell us existed in geological eras earlier than the era in which man appeared. The megacheiroptera dates from the Cenozoic era (63 million years ago); the dinosaur from the Mesozoic era (181 millions years ago), and the agnata from the Paleozoic era (405 million years ago). I can only deduce that the men who carved these stones co-existed with these animals. This of course means that man is at least 405 million years old, as apposed to 40-250 thousands years old as paleontologists would have it, based on human fossils found for the Cenozoic era (Cromagnon, Grimaldi and Neanderthal man). But this was not all. Arranged according to theme, the stones show that the men who carved them not only knew these animals, but knew them well in a biological sense: the reproductive cycle of the megacheiroptera, dinosaur, and agnata; their eating habits; and their physical vulnerabilities are all portrayed in the drawings.
(6) Paleontology: the science which deals with the discovery, classification and interpretation of the many remains of the existence of
life in past times. The word fossil refers not only to bones, teeth, shells, and other hard parts from an animal or plant which have been
conserved, but also to any footprint or imprint left by an organism that existed in a remote epoch.
(7) Archeologists reject the possibility of the coexistence of man with prehistoric animals, on the basis of what they consider to be unchallengeable: that man appeared recently, only 250,000 years ago. However, when human remains were found in America with fossils of animals that lived millions of years ago, they arbitrarily stated that in America such animals became extinct very recently.
(8) Ephrain George Squier: PERU INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL AND EXPLORATIONS IN THE LANDS OF INCAS, Harper E Brother Publishers, New York, 1887.
(9) Squier, Ibid.
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