261. An Engraved Ica Andesite Pebble

Peru, age of engraving disputed
Size: 19 × 15 cm

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There have been many magical objects that have passed through the market over the years: Dr Dee’s Bracelet, Count Cagliostro’s Astrological Shoe Buckles, Tipu Sultan’s Talismanic Ring. And there are many others that are unlikely to come on the market: Dr Dee’s Scrying Mirror in the British Museum; Trithemius of Sponheim’s Library, wherever that is; even the remains of Pedro de Luna’s skull smashed up at Peniscola by Napoleon’s troops rampaging through Spain. They are all reminders of interesting parts of our history, the concept of which is already burning on the altar that is a Kardashian backside.

I’m not sure that an Ica Stone quite fits into the magical category, but considering the scale of the controversy involved, it has an interesting story to tell. And since one has come my way, apparently the first on the market for 30 years or more, here it is, in brief. 

In 1976, Robert Charroux published a book, L’énigme des Andes, in which he recounts his encounter with Dr Javier Cabrera Darquea, a surgeon and professor at the University of Ica, one of the scientific elite of Peru. This erudite man had a huge collection of andesite pebbles, found in a cave near Ica, engraved with scenes of apparently unbelievable antiquity, showing combats between humans and dinosaurs, humans performing sophisticated surgery and observing the stars with telescopes, etc. Sophisticated stuff, happening millions of years ago. This stone comes with a video made by a reputed geologist from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, guaranteeing its authenticity. The argument still continues, and has generated a vast amount of opinion on the internet, of which it is only necessary to read two or three – they are extremely repetitive. Dr Cabrera’s museum is listed as an official tourist site by the Peruvian Chamber of Tourism and continues to attract many visitors.

The most interesting aspect of these stones is what they reveal about human behaviour. In other words, while science and religion often seem at odds with each other, in fact their adherents behave in exactly the same way. A believer of one or the other can rarely be persuaded out of his belief, partly because so much is invested. A scientist or intellectual can rarely perceive anything beyond the confines of their intellect. Mystics can, and sometimes artists, because they can use a piece of equipment that is normally strangled by the conditioned intellect. This pebble is a useful reminder of how useless belief can be.