Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘ica stones

Ica Stones Revisited

with 8 comments

Due to popular demand, here is a more comprehensive post on the Ica Stones, the one I mentioned briefly in a prior post.  And I can say right off the bat, I can’t prove that all of the Ica stones are a hoax. And I’m not even going to try. In fact with artifacts like this it’s up to the proponents of the “Ica stones are genuine” theory to prove their case. Nonetheless I can discuss any number of things about the stones, I’ve given them a  bit of thought now and looked into what is available on line about them.  And, frankly, I’m still pretty skeptical. Here is my thinking.

As I mentioned in the prior post, the first stumbling block is provenance. This is a major stumbling block, and in fact is an illustration of my “Number one rule of hoax detection.” To whit, if the key piece of evidence that would prove or disprove an artifact or photograph is real is missing, it’s probably a  fake. The classic is old film photographs of UFOs/Bigfoot/Nessie etc where “the negative got lost.” Convenient at the very least, since without a negative to example, a film photograph is largely useless as evidence. And with the Ica stones, until the location where they were found is revealed, the stones themselves have very limited evidentiary value.

And an obvious question here is, why the secrecy? If the site where these stones were found is real, it would be a profoundly important archaeological site. The money generated by curious and scientific tourists would be a gold mine locally and nationally. Yet the Peruvian government and the locals are apparently happy having the stones labelled as  a hoax instead of cashing in on the big money?

Then as I mentioned before, we have the dinosaur depictions on the stones:

Um, these are classic media depictions of popular dinosaurs from the era the stones were likely carved, the nineteen sixties. Dinosaurs that didn’t live in South America, are separated my vast eons of time, and inaccurately portrayed in many details. Though they do faithfully portray what one would see in depictions of dinosaurs in comic books and magazines. Dinosaurs that actually lived in south America? They appear to be conspicuously absent from the Ica Stones.

Another thing that’s conspicuously absent is writing. Thousands of stones with crude drawings on them, but not a single line of text or math? They supposedly portray an advanced civilization, but one without a written language? Of course any sort of text would be easy meat for scholars to examine and prove or disprove the stone’s authenticity. Again, this isn’t proof of anything, but it’s another convenient omission.

Then there’s the similarity to some of the Nazca line drawings. Since images of the Nazca lines were commonly available in the nineteen sixties, I don’t see how they can be cited as proof of anything one way or the other. And there are no depictions of dinosaurs in the Nazca lines, nor have any Ica type stones been found in Nazca archaeological sites. In fact the only record and source we have for the Ica stones is the mysterious cave. A cave that archaeologists have begged to be allowed to see, and even offered to be blindfolded to and fro  so they can’t reveal its location. No dice. Yes, old records do speak of “carved stones” being found by the early Spanish explorers. Not only have none of these survived, we don’t even have a description of any of them, so that’s no help.

It should also be mentioned that these stones are apparently the only surviving relic of this putative advanced civilization. No ruins, other artifacts, anything. All they left us was a whole pile of not terribly illuminating amateurishly engraved stones. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to say that far and away the simplest explanation is the stones were carved by a farmer and his wife because a gullible doctor would buy them in any quantity they could come up with. As the farmer said when interviewed about how he made the stones (he used a dental drill,) it was a lot easier than farming for a  living. It was a lot more fun too I bet.

So there’s no “smoking gun” that proves the Ica Stones are fake. There are however a whole bunch of reasons to doubt that these are anything other than fakes. And a whole lot of assumptions have to be made to explain away the problems I mentioned above. Maybe someday the secret cave will be revealed, or obvious Ica Stones with dinosaur and other anachronistic drawings will be discovered in a controlled archaeological site. Until then, the idea that the Ica Stones prove anything, let alone prove that dinosaurs coexisted with humans or that there is a lost advanced civilization in Peru, doesn’t hold much weight in my book.

I would be glad to be proved wrong, but I read a lot of pro Ica Stone web sites and was underwhelmed by the arguments presented there.

(The above stegosaurus image is reproduced legally: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following licenses:

GNU head Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License“.

The second image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. If it is an ancient carving, then the copyright is long expired. If it’s not, well, if anyone knows who to attribute it to, I will gladly do so. Note the stegosaurus above is not dragging its tail. No dinosaurs dragged their tails. I rest my case.)

Written by unitedcats

July 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Posted in History, Paranormal

Tagged with , ,

The Bimini Road, Tatzelworms, Ica Stones and all the rest.

with 16 comments

This week I’m going to cover  a whole host of unexplained and mysterious phenomena. Well, some of them are more explained than others, and some of them the only mystery is how anyone ever took the topic in question seriously. Still, lots of fun to be had, I’ve loved stuff like this since I was a kid. And no matter what, things like this shows us that some peoples are still capable of imagination and wonder, if there’s anything that separates us from the animals it’s that. These topics are presented in no particular order. I will however classify them in one of four ways. Things can either be real or unreal, explained or unexplained. By real I mean there is actual empirical evidence to examine. When I say explained I mean there is a perfectly rational explanation and there’s really nothing mysterious going on here. My classifications are based on my evidence at hand, and am perfectly happy if someone argues otherwise. I may even change my mind, it’s been known to happen.

First off, the Bimini Road. Real/explained. This is a half mile long “road” made of interconnected stone blocks located underwater near Bimini island in the Bahamas. They blocks are “beach rock,” a type of stone that is created in beach environments. There’s a lot that can be said about the idea that this is a road, pro and con. However, we can cut to the chase. Beach rock is such that one can examine a piece of it and it has very distinct layers and orientation on a fine scale. And if one drills cores of a bunch of these rocks, as geologists have done, it turns out that their layers and orientation are all in complete match with each other. This is what we would expect to find if they were created in situ by geologic processes, but not what we would expect to find if they were cut and placed by human hands. Sadly there’s a lot of “mysteries” like this, just because something looks like it may have been made by humans doesn’t mean it was.

And here we have the Tatzelwurm. Possibly real/unexplained. The Tatzelwurm (means clawed worm) has been reported from the European Alps for centuries. It’s a big lizard-like thing with two clawed feet and a cat-like head by some descriptions. No one has caught one that has ever been examined by modern science. I’d say it was firmly in the folklore category, but there’s at least a small chance that there is some sort of unknown lizard or salamander that is the basis for the legend. Who knows, other weird things have been found in the Alps.

Lastly, the Ica Stones. Real/Explained. There’s a lovely one pictured above. A fellow riding on a  dinosaur it appears. The Ica Stones, there are thousands of them, depict all sorts of wonderful things. Brain surgery, telescopes, and lots and lots of dinosaurs. Where did they come from? Peru. Who made them? Who knows, but you can go there today and the locals will gladly make new ones for you. The problem with the Ica Stones is simple, we don’t know where they came from. A doctor in the sixties claims he got them from a farmer, who claims he found them in a cave. The doctor has made a pile of money off the stones and writing a book about them, in fact there’s a big Ica Stone Museum one can go visit on the way to Machu Pichu. (OK, I made that last part up, I have no idea if the Museum is anywhere near Machu Pichu.) The claim is that the stones were made by some ancient civilization that not only had high technology, they co-existed with dinosaurs. (The the Christian fundamentalist creationists love the Ica stones.) The stones are real, but until we can find them in an archaeological context, they can’t be taken seriously. There’s a number of other reasons not to take them seriously, but “I found them in a  cave,” yeah, that’s right on up there with “My dog ate my homework.” Well, just below that, dogs probably do occasionally eat homework.

Three down, hundreds to go. Most of them are similar to the ones above. That is to say, the only real mystery is that some people think these are mysterious.  Part of the problem is that the people promulgating stuff like this usually exaggerate aspects of the case that make it more mysterious  and/or omit inconvenient details. Or they simply make up details that make their case more convincing. Yeah, that’s scholarly. In any event, these are three relatively obscure earth mysteries. There’s not a whole lot more to be said about them. If someone can make a case that one of them deserves more investigation, I’d be curious to hear their reasoning.

Tuesday, mysterious disappearances. Cue Twilight Zone music.

(The above images are all claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. They’re not being used for profit, they are central to illustrating the post, and their use here in no way interferes with the  copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. And if any gentle reader wants me to write about a mysterious thing of their choice, this would definitely be the week to make a request. No UFOs though, I’m aliened out as it were.)

Written by unitedcats

July 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Paranormal

Tagged with , ,