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Our family of four (with 13-year-old twin boys) dreamed the impossible dream and reached the unreachable star! On March 21, 2011 we pedaled the final mile to arrive at the end of the world in USHUAIA, Argentina! We spent three years cycling 17,300 miles through 15 countries starting in Alaska to get there.


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JANUARY 15, 2012 6:30PM

The mysteries of Dr. Cabrera’s Stone Museum in Ica, Peru

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As I think back over our three years on the road, there were a lot of things we saw that intrigued me, but I never thought a bunch of rocks could capture my imagination so thoroughly. But then, I never thought I would see 20,000 extraordinary rocks intricately carved by some ancient civilization either.

Dr. Cabrera's Stone Museum in Ica, Peru

The stones were obviously carved by an advanced society. They show many facets of life.

All it took was one quick look inside the door of Dr. Cabrera’s Stone Museum in Ica, Peru for me to want more. My curiosity had been piqued – what were all those carved stones anyway?

Fortunately, Dr. Cabrera’s daughter, Eugenio, willingly opened the museum to us and agreed to show us around. And what a tour it was! I will readily admit to having been ignorant on all matters surrounding the southern Peruvian mystery, so I hung onto her every word. Now I’m hooked and am fascinated by all the mysteries from the area – the famous Nazca Lines, the elongated conehead skulls, the mysterious wells in the desert… It’s all so fascinating and, well… mysterious.

The museum

Dr. Cabrera’s Stone Museum is a small, private museum located on the Plaza de Armas in Ica, Peru about four hours south of Lima. It was started by Dr. Cabrera as an attempt to safeguard the many mysterious carved rocks found in the area. Dr. Cabrera died a few years ago, but his daughter now maintains the museum and passes on some her father’s wisdom.

The stones

Dr. Cabrera's Stone Museum in Ica, Peru

There are about 20,000 stones in the museum. 50,000 of them have been found in the desert.

It is reported that more than 50,000 carved stones have been found in the desert surrounding Ica. About 20,000 of them are in the museum.

The first thing one notices about the stones, besides the vast number of them, is that they are much more dense than normal stones. They are actually created with two layers – black basalt in the center and a shiny black andesite as an outside layer. They come in all sizes – from small enough to fit in your palm to one meter high. Regardless of their size, they all have the two layers and all of them are intricately carved with great precision.

The carvings

The stones are carved with scenes of ancient people. The carvings depict a huge variety of topics – all of them normal events in life. The most spectacular carvings (and the most mysterious) show advanced medical knowledge including brain surgery, heart transplants, and genetic experimentation.

The stones depict performing a heart transplant in great detail, as well as taking a brain out of a patient and hooking it up to some sort of apparatus to keep it alive. In some of the carvings, people are shown using telescopes and looking at the stars.

Surgeon cutting open a head

This particular stone shows a surgeon cutting open a head.

surgeon takes out the brain...

On another part of the stone, it shows the surgeon taking out the brain...

the surgeon connects the brain to some sort of apparatus

...then the brain is connected to some sort of apparatus. Nobody knows what the apparatus was doing.

another stone shows taking blood from a pregnant woman

Another stone shows taking blood from a pregnant woman...

An ancient stone carving depicting a heart transplant give to a heart transplant patient. Apparently, pregnant women produce a hormone so the body won't reject new organs, making it useful in transplant operations.

What does this all mean?

Unfortunately, we don’t know. When the stones first started appearing in the desert around Ica, Peru, nobody knew what they were and a farmer started selling them to tourists. When the government threatened to jail the farmer for selling antiquities, he claimed he carved them himself. At this point, the official story is that one farmer or a small group of people are carving the stones for profit.

Eugenio, Dr. Cabrera's daughter, now runs the museum

Eugenio, Dr. Cabrera's daughter, now runs the museum

There are holes in this story though. Given the fact that 50,000 stones have been found so far (all of them in the desert around Ica), it would be very difficult for a small group of people to create them. Let’s just say that they’ve been carving them for 50 years now; that means they’ve carved 1000 stones every single year for fifty years. In order for that to happen, they would need to be churning out three stones per day.

Is it possible that one man dedicated himself to carving these stones? Or a small group? How have they remained such a secret? How would a poor farmer in rural Peru know the things that are depicted on the stones?

Nobody really knows who carved the stones or why, but Dr. Cabrera believed they were an encyclopedia of ancient knowledge. His theory was that some sort of super-intelligent species lived in the area. They were a very highly advanced society with complex knowledge of astronomy, physics, and medicine. They also knew that some sort of cataclysmic event was about to occur which would destroy nearly everything on earth.

In their desperation to save their knowledge and pass it on to future generations, the people of the society carved rocks. Rocks, being durable and virtually indestructible, would be able to survive the cataclysmic event. They placed the rocks in one location for safekeeping, but they have since been scattered around by being washed away in rivers or by other natural processes. Dr. Cabrera believed the rocks were stored in one cave which has yet to be found.

Theories abound about how and why these rocks were carved.  What do you think?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

It’s also interesting to consider that Nazca, with its mysterious lines carved into the desert sands, is just a short hop, skip, and jump away. The museum in Ica holds mysterious elongated, conehead skulls. There are unique wells in the desert just outside of town. These are just a few of the mysteries hidden in the sands around Ica, Peru.

Daryl created a theory to explain all these mysteries. He said, “I think the coneheads were some sort of extremely intelligent being who knew how to fly and they made the Nazca Lines. But they were also very inadaptable, and when conditions on earth changed, they died out because they were unable to change in response to the changes.”

At the Ica Regional Museum, he added another piece to his theory: the bones and mummies found in the area indicate that some sort of disease had ravaged the population, which could easily explain what happened to them. Both the bones and the stones tell us there was some sort of major epidemic similar to AIDS that affected the population.

Was there an extremely advanced and intelligent civilization in southern Peru thousands or millions of years ago? Were they wiped out by an AIDS-type disease? Or did they fly away to another planet? I’m not sure we will ever know.

Dr. Cabrera’s Stone Museum is open by appointment only. The number is posted on the door, and Eugenio is available most days to show you around.

Here are some resources that might be of interest:

Xpeditions TV: Secrets of the Sand


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