The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Ica Stones

As we move on down the line of the 10 most not-so-puzzling ancient artifacts, we come to the Ica Stones. These are perhaps the most perplexing to me, since I don’t understand how anyone can look at these and think they are real.

A bad day for Fred Flintstone

These little gems range in size from cobbles to boulders, and depict a wide variety of images from humans co-existing with dinosaurs, to advanced surgery, and spaceships with advanced technology.

Apparently, this one is a modern hoax starting in 1966 when one, Dr. Javier Cabrera Darquea, a Peruvian physician, received a small carved rock as a gift for his birthday. The stone apparently came from a small town in Peru called Ica.  Dr. Cabrera seems to have had a great interest in prehistoric extinct fish, because when he saw the carved rock he recognized as such (Polidoro 2002, Carroll 2002, Feder 2010).

The Fish That Started it All.

Never mind that Dr. Cabrera never identified the fish, or mentions how he knows the fish is an accurate depiction of said unidentified species (Carroll 2002).

Dr. Cabrera became so fascinated with the little stone that he went looking for more. Lucky for him the locals were more than happy to provide them to him. Basilio Uschuya, a local farmer, began to provide more of the black volcanic stones to him. Uschuya claimed that he was finding them in a cave not far away. Uschuya never made known the location of the cave and Cabrera never appears to have gone looking for it. Still, Cabrera did become so engrossed with the stones and their apparent message that he built them a museum, left his physician career, and dedicated the rest of his life to buying all the stones he could get from the locals (Polidoro 2002). The Ica Stones are currently displayed in the Ica Stones Museum in Ica, Peru, which houses approximately 11,000 of the estimated 15,000 or more stones that are said to exist (Ross 2007, Feder 2010).

Dr. Cabrera and His Collection

So, as always we must ask, What are the Ica Stones really?

The stones themselves are varying sized pieces of Andesite, which is a type of hard volcanic rock. Various images have been engraved on the surface of these rocks depicting, as I said earlier, all sorts of crazy stuff. They also seem to all have a certain type of patina on them seemingly verifying their age. Cabrera has claimed that andesite is too hard to carve using stone tools (Carroll 2002), so for him it’s a sign that the stones were carved using advanced technology, like so many of the stones depict. The reality is that the stones are graved, as in a surface layer of oxidation has been scratched away, not carved (Carroll 2002). The difference is in the shallowness of the images on the surface of the stones.

Then there is that pesky patina, which many supporters claim is evidence of the carvings great age. Again, the reality is that the patina can be faked, as any antiquities expert will tell you.

Added to this is the admission of Basilio Uschuya to both the Erik Van Danikin and Peruvian authorities that he forged the stones, going as far to explain how he did it and producing one on the spot to prove his innocence (Ross 2007, Carroll 2002). Apparently, a dentist drill will carve anything, and the patina can be faked by either baking the stones in cow dung, or leaving them for a time in the Chicken coup (Ica N.d.). He chose his subjects from illustrations in comic books, school books, and magazines (Carroll 2002, Polidoro 2002, Ross 2007, Feder 2010). He also said that he had not made all the stones, and continued to sell similar stones to tourists as trinkets after the inquiry by the Peruvian government (Ica N.d., Feder 2010).

That’s pretty cut and dry for me, but for others, there is more to the stones then a simple hoax.

What I do like about these stones is how they manage to cross all the common conspiracy groups at the same time. See, the stones simultaneously supposedly validate the claims of the Ancient Astronauts Theorists, the Creationists, and the Atlantis folks all at once. They seem to have a little something for everyone.

Man Hunting the Tasty Sharp-toothed Brontosaurus.

For the Creationist folks there is the images of Dinos and Man living together. Sometimes they are hunting each other, sometimes Man is domesticating the Dinos. Whatever image that stones depict, all the Creationists see is evidence of a young earth and their particular slant on prehistory, despite the 60 million years that separates living dinosaurs from our earliest human ancestors.

The Nazca Lines, therefore Aliens.

For the Ancient Alien folks, there appear to be several stones that depict celestial bodies, things that might be space ships, and of course the Nazca Lines. All those things add up to Aliens visiting and teaching humans advanced technology, and leaving the newly advanced humans species with no other way to record such a visit, then to carve the events primitively onto stones.

Floating Heart Surgery.

For the Atlantis folks there are images of advanced technology and surgery. Stuff far to advanced for primitive brown people, so obviously the erudite Atlanteans brought their knowledge to these people, and again, had no better way to record all of this then to carve it into stone.

Where do we go with all of this?

No matter how you cut it, all three groups are claiming a very advanced, yet somehow lost and forgotten culture. So to all three groups one has to ask, why  has no one has ever found any other remnants of this great culture? Where are the encampments, the trash, the burials, the kilns, the tools, the grave goods, the monuments, the trade goods, the descendants of the people? Why if this culture is so advanced that they could perform modern surgery and take down animals hundreds of times their size, could they not find a better way to preserver their history then shallowly scratched stones? Why is it that no dinosaur’s fossils can be dated to an age contemporary with man (Polidoro 2002)?

Collection of Various Stones.

Dating the stones presents it own set of duh moments. Stones without organic mater can’t be carbon dated, so we rely on the strata in which they are found. Removing the stones without documenting where they were found pretty much renders the stones undatable, and basically useless to the archaeological record.

Sound Familiar? Yah, I’ve harped on this point before: let’s assume for a brief moment the Ica stones are real. Since they have never been properly recorded, and the cave they were supposedly found in has never been located, they are completely out of context, and nothing of significance can be learned from them. It also makes it impossible to date them or assigned them to a cultural group. Which is the fancy way of saying, they are completely useless.

Add to that the numerous debunking of the stones starting in 1977 during the BBC documentary “Pathway to the Gods”, Uschuya produced a “genuine” Ica stone with a dentist’s drill and claimed to have produced the patina by baking the stone in cow dung (Ica N.d.).

Then again in 1998, after four years of investigation, Spanish investigator Vicente Paris declared the stones a hoax (Ica N.d.). He stated that the stones showed traces of modern paints and abrasives. The strongest evidence he presented was the crispness of the shallow engravings; stones of great age should have substantial erosion of the surfaces (Ica N.d.).

Finally, a recent examination of the stones, done in Barcelona by José Antonio Lamich, founder of the Spanish “Hipergea” research group, revealed signs of sandpaper and recent carvings, backing up Paris’ investigations (Polidoro 2002, Feder 2010).

So with all of this stacked against the Ica Stones, not to mention the clearly ridiculous images depicted on the stones, how can anyone believe these are anything other than a hoax?

Here There Be Dragons!


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Carroll,Robert T.

2002.  Ica Stones. Skeptics Dictioary. Accessed 5/3/2012

Feder, Kennith.

2010.Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. Greenwood

Polidoro, Massimo.

2002. Ica Stones: Yabba-Dabba-Do! Skeptical Inquier. Volume 26.5, September / October 2002 Accessed 5/3/2012

Ross, Sara.

2007. The Ica Stones and Dr. Javier Cabrera. PARA Web Bibliography B-03. Accessed 5/3/2012

The Ica Stones of Peru

N.d. Accessed 5/3/2012


33 thoughts on “The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Ica Stones

Add yours

  1. Just finished reading all your not so puzzling artifacts, Great read, I admit I am an “ancient alien Fringer” ,I’m just waiting for definitive proof, unlike the others I won’t blindly believe everything somebody tells me, I need proof, I need evidence, I really really want to find evidence of ancient aliens, but so far i’ve been left wanting 😦
    One thing I will say, And i don’t want you to take it as an insult, But I found your spelling to be quite painful, I understand you studied archaeology, not English, But the amount of times you said “then” instead of “than” and “to” instead of “too” was driving me nuts..
    But i persevered and read every last article, and they were worth it, thanks for taking the time to write them. Ryan.


  2. Thanks for your excellent website.
    Please do try to fix the then/than too/to mistakes on your page though as the previous poster suggests. It is painful.


  3. “Stones without organic mater can’t be carbon dated,… so we rely.. on the strata in which they are found. Removing the stones without documenting where they were found… pretty much renders the stones undatable…, and basically useless to the archaeological record.”

    so a large scale flood WOULD render everything undateable if it’s earlier than the flood.

    funny how this really is how they do all of their dating methods…for thing less than 80,000 years per say.


  4. Hi, so you said that the stones could not be dated using C14 because of the lack of organic material, but if Basilio Uschuya used organic materials such as animal dung to produce the patina, could this material in the patina not be used for dating purpose? Thanks for helping me understand the issue.


    1. The materials used to “age” the artifacts are too young for C14 dating. So, short answer is no, they can’t be used. If said residue was used it would produce a false date that would be inaccurate.


      1. Too young for carbon dating? That’s a new one on me. I’ve heard the argument that it can be too far out (past 50-60,000yrs), but never that it is too young. If something is suspected to be contaminated with modern material when C14 dating, it will give an age of 600yrs or less. If this is the case and the stones end up with this age, then we have the option to say this is more evidence that it is a hoax or that they could be contaminated.


  5. With 15000 stones how is it possible for 1 person to create such a hoax? Would it be possible to make more than 1 a day or would it take days to make 1?


    1. The longest part of the process was burring the stone in chicken poop, and I imagine you can bury more than one at a time. So a prolific forger could easily make 1500 stones in their lifetime. Also, there is some speculation that there was more than one forger, so yes, it is possible to make this many in a short time span. Especially if this was your source of income.


  6. This article gives little evidence to disregard the finding of these stones, and yet completely drops them as evidence for anything but the stupidity of man, based on pre-conceived ideas of how it all must have happened. That is not how science works. Consider this, if evolution is false, these stones make sense, if it is correct, than these stones destroy a lot of assumptions made by the evolutionary theory. You say the stones can’t be accurately dated, (which isn’t correct, they have been dated to some extent. Lookup the microscopic analysis done on these stones.), yet using pre-conceived notions, you say they must be fake. Fitting the evidence to agree with what you believe, and not the other way around, is dangerous and is contrary to the scientific method. More research is definitely warranted in regards to this find, especially since there are stones having similar carvings found else where around the world.


    1. First we have to consider that evolution, a very well backed and evidenced theory, is false and that these stones, which are consistently found to be modern in make (even using microscopic analysis) and who’s maker has admitted and reproduced his work on demand, are real. I’m not sure what “Fitting the evidence to agree with what you believe” you’re referring too. I’m also not sure what similar carvings you’re referring too. Yes, there are other fraudulent artifacts out there that seem to have the same themes, but to say they are close enough to be something more is dubious at best.


  7. It is amazing how you seem to think your assumptions are facts that prove this find to be a hoax. It is also interesting how you claim that evolution is well backed and substantiated by evidence. Every piece, to the exclusion of NONE, that has ever been used to “prove” evolution, has been proven a hoax, by both evolutionists and creationists. Yet, those who look at the evidence for what it actually implies, and those who consider the whole story (unlike you, who leaves out information for the sake of convincing your readers of lies) are said to believe in fairy tales? About the only “proof” for evolution is that intelligent people somehow digress to the intellect that appears to be the transitional intellect between apes and man. Perhaps the Neanderthal? Yet, perhaps the make-believe of evolution attests to the proof that mankind has always been created to be different than all other animals. How? No other creature on earth has near the imagination of the evolutionists, who incidentally believes that the universe created itself, or that it is eternal, and that life came from non-life…all ideas that spit in the face of scientific laws that are beyond contestation.

    What is also funny, is that you seem to think that this find helps those who believe in aliens depositing life on the earth, yet, after an evolutionist is backed up into a corner hard enough about the Universe’s beginning, the only answer he seems to come up with is that aliens are the answer to how life came to be on the earth. Of course, there are no images that show aliens and spacecrafts. Just because some people eisegete conspiracy theories into this find, does not mean that when we see clear depictions of dinosaurs that we are to be included with the nuts of society.

    How about you allow the facts to assist you, rather than depending on insulting others to defend yourself. The real stupid man has no other response than, “Oh yeah, your stupider!” Which is basically all you have done. The only thing the evolutionists ever seem to do in debate is attack the pedigree and presupposed intentions of those involved with the evidences that go against the evolutionary theory and subsequent theories. If you write an article based upon fact, substantiated with evidence, I will be inclined to agree with you, despite the fact that you appear to be exceptionally uneducated. Fact is fact, evidence is evidence, it doesn’t matter who states, or who finds it. Stop using logical fallacies to prove your positions. And stop discrediting the evidence by your clear bias against anyone who does not believe in your precious Darwinian fairytale. This goes for anyone on the creationists side, too. Use evidence, use logic, but do not use bias. The only people who will agree with you then are those who already agreed with you in the first place. I was agnostic, on the verge of atheists, until evidence that I had no clue existed was presented before me. I considered both sides of arguments for all the pieces of evidence presented, and then came to the only conclusion that one can come to who didn’t seem to care either way in the first place. Creationists nor evolutionists convince their opponents of anything with articles like these.


    1. I’m definitely not totally for or against evolution, but if you think these stones are evidence against it, you’re a fruit cake. How could anyone take these things seriously? They look like they were drawn/made by children. What a joke. Have you ever took your beliefs a step further, and pondered the notion that maybe dinosaurs never even existed at all? Because that’s the direction I’m leaning these days.


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