For many years, this odd granite stele was embedded in the south wall of the local cemetery in the village of Casar just outside Cáceres. It is said that the villagers crossed themselves when they passed in front of it while children threw stones at the strange image carved on the ancient stone. Possibly they were puzzled by its unnerving smile, its bulbous shoulders, and its misshapen, oversized head.
It’s believed this funerary stele dates back to Roman times or earlier, and many scholars suggest the carving represents a Celtiberian warrior dating to around the 2nd or 1st century BC. But the mysterious figure, now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Cáceres, has also been nicknamed the “Astronaut of Casar” or “Alien of Casar,” thanks to its resemblance to a person wearing a spacesuit and helmet, or even an extraterrestrial being.
The real crux of the mystery, however, is the strange inscription engraved within the body of the figure. It is written in Latin characters yet seems to correspond with an Indo-European language used by the indigenous peoples of the region. But there is disagreement among researchers, many of whom consider it untranslatable. To this day it has not been definitively deciphered, though there are several theories.
One of the more intriguing (if outlandish) theories argues that this could be a sentiment of gratitude by an alien being who was forced to spend a season on our planet and was welcomed by a family of that time. In other words, it’s been suggested that this enigmatic carving in Cáceres is nothing less than the first documented proof of extraterrestrial life on Earth.
Know Before You Go
The stele is displayed in room 8 (Roman epigraphy) of the Cáceres Museum, immediately before the Moorish Cistern. The museum is open every day except Mondays (hours vary by day; check the website). Admission is free for European citizens and on Sundays.