Ica Stones st the Cabrera Museum – Chincha Baja District, Peru - Atlas Obscura
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Chincha Baja District, Peru

Ica Stones st the Cabrera Museum

Peru's (not so) mysterious carved stones. 

It is a rare object that stimulates the curiosity of archaeologists, ancient astronaut theorists, Atlantis supporters, and creationists who want to prove that dinosaurs co-existed with men: but the mysterious carved Ica Stones of Peru may just be the ticket.

Housed in a small private museum created by Peruvian physician Dr. Javier Cabrera in 1966, more than 10,000 stones of various sizes are carved with intriguing images of a lost civilization. In an astonishing variety of images covering a vast array of subjects the stones show dinosaurs frolicking, assorted extinct animals, maps and depictions of advanced surgical methods.

The stones first turned up from the property of local farmer Basilo Uschuya, who brought them to the attention of the good doctor, claiming that he had tried repeatedly to get the attention of the archaeological authorities without avail. Over the years Uschuya produced hundreds of carved stones and Cabrera became their greatest promoter, attracting the attention both of scholars as well as fringe theory enthusiasts, who saw the stones as evidence of visitations from remote planets or creationist proof of the coexistence of dinosaur and man. Or possibly both.

But then, following a BBC special critical of the stones, in 1973 Uschuya admitted to carving the stones himself, and artificially aging them in order to pass them off as ancient artifacts. 

Today most agree that the stones are nothing more than an interesting hoax, but what may be most mysterious about the entire story is how one man – or even many men – managed to produce so many carved stones in such a relatively short time. To this day, no one has solved that part of the mystery, and the museum remains open to those who would like to interpret the mysteries for themselves.