|IFRAO Report Number 17|
Lets save Toro Muerto (Peru)
In the opinion of Antonio Núñez Jiménez (author of a series of four
books on Peruvian rock art, RAR 6: 73-4) the petroglyphs of Toro Muerto,
engraved in volcanic rocks in a desert region near the village Coriri in
the Majes valley (Prov. Castillo, Dept. Arequipa, Peru) constitute the
most noteworthy of all rock art sites in Peru. The rediscoverer of this
site, Eloy Linares Málaga, has named it the largest site in the world.
It really is an enormous locality with thousands of petroglyphs in an
area extending for five kilometres.
Toro Muerto has been investigated since 1951 by Linares M. and
researchers from Australia, France, Germany, Cuba and other countries.
It has been published in a number of books and articles (e.g. Núñez
Jiménez 1986; Linares Málaga 1987, 1993).
About fifteen years ago the Peruvian archeologist Frederico Kauffmann
Doig, the then Director of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC), had
a small building constructed at the access road to the site to control
visi-tors. Unfortunately, vigilance of the site was later aban-doned by
the INC. On the other hand, Linares M. initiated efforts to have Toro
Muerto declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Unfortunately, this extraordinary rock art site is in great danger of
being destroyed completely. The commu-nity of new settlement near the
site, Candelaria, has begun irrigation of part of the zone. Moreover, an
agreement exists between the INC and the settlers which allows this
activity. Besides, many engraved rocks have been affected by the
quarrying of stone for construction work or by vandalism.
In June 1996 E. Linares Málaga and Matthias Strecker (Secretary and
Editor of the Bolivian Rock Art Research Society, SIARB) visited Toro
Muerto and offered a press conference in Arequipa. They suggest that the
following measures be taken in order to save this rock art site:
· organisation of a permanent exhibition on Toro Muerto in the village
· publication of a flyer for tourists which explains the importance of
· the Peruvian Ministers of Education (head of the INC) and Agriculture
should annul the agreement which allows irrigation of the zone;
· the Policia de Turismo (police branch responsible for vigilance of
archaeological sites) should establish permanent supervision at Toro
· in case the state authorities should not be able to protect the site,
its administration might be transferred for a number of years to a
private entity which would look after the site and profit from tourism;
· the Ministry of Education should continue the initia-tive to have Toro
Muerto declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
We ask our readers to support this plan. Please write to the following
Peruvian authorities asking to stop irri-gation of Toro Muerto and to
start definite action to protect this site:
· Excelentísimo Señor Presidente Constitucional de la República del
Perú, Ing. Don Alberto Fujimori F., Palacio de Gobierno, Plaza de Armas,
· Don Domingo Palermo Cabrejo, Ministro de Educa-ción, Calle Vandelvene
160, San Borja, Lima, Peru;
· Ing. Rodolfo Muñante S., Ministro de Agricultura, Avda. Salaverry s/n,
San Borja, Lima, Peru.
· Fax (all three): Lima 365855.
LINARES MÁLAGA, E. 1987. Arte rupestre e identidad en Arequipa. Rock Art
Research 4: 60-62.
LINARES MÁLAGA, E. 1993. The largest site in the world: Toro Muerto
(Peru). International Newsletter on Rock Art 6: 25-27.
NÚÑEZ JIMÉNEZ, A. 1986. El libro de piedra de Toro Muerto. Habana, Cuba.
Subsequent to the recent death of IFRAO Representative Professor Herbert
Nowak, the IC has elected its Secretary and Editor, Professor Werner
Pichler, as its new IFRAO Representative. The new official contact
address is Institutum Canarium, Wagrainerstraße 9, A-4840 Vöcklabruck,
NEW IFRAO MEMBER
Rock Art Research Association
The Eastern States Rock Art Research Association (ESRARA) is technically
a loosely organised association of men and women interested in locating,
observing, recording, reporting and explaining petroglyphs and rock
paintings found in the states of the United States of America that are
east of the Mississippi River. In practice ESRARA members are pleased
to, and do, communicate and confer with people anywhere in the world
interested in the study of petroglyphs and rock paintings.
The Association publishes the ESRARA Newsletter, informing
members and other interested persons of activity in locating, recording,
illustrating, and speculating concerning, petroglyphs and rock
paintings. The Association holds occasional general meetings hosted by
volunteer individuals and institutions at which people meet to report
and illustrate their researches, to learn of the studies of others, and
to confer with their colleagues. Customarily, at these meetings members
present exhibits concerning their researches. The 1996 meeting of ESRARA
was held at the University of Maine, Machias campus (see report below).
ESRARA has been elected as the thirtieth member of IFRAO. The
Associations IFRAO Representative is:
Dr James L. Swauger
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
The Meeting in Machias, Maine
The Third Eastern States Rock Art Conference (ESRAC) was held over
Memorial Day weekend on the University of Maine at Machias campus (24-26
May 1996). There were seventy-six registrants who came for all or part
of the proceedings from various parts of the U.S.A. and Canada. This
included a number of Native Americans from Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, Maine and Connecticut who took an active part in the events.
After a reception for early arrivals on Thursday evening, 23 May, these
events began with a bus trip and walk to one shoreline petroglyph site
(ME 62.8) which culminated with ritual singing and drumming by Jean
Labrador of Nova Scotia. Jean strongly impressed on us that all
approaches to the sites should be made with unshod feet, to show respect
to the petroglyphs as marking a spiritually sacred place and to help
prevent erosion of the glyphs from sand and grit on boots and shoes.
A notable feature of the Machias conference was the focus on rock art as
symbolic expression. This process took place on a number of levels. Mark
Hedden introduced the problem with a presentation on Friday afternoon,
24 May. He detailed changes in ideas of time, space, selfhood and the
sources of authority associated with the introduction of written
languages, based on abstract signs for vocalised sounds, such as the
alphabet. Concepts associated with oral (and rock art) traditions were
contrasted to literate concepts. For example, ideas of time and space
changed from revolving or circular conceptions to linear or progressive
modes. The sense of the social unit evolved from a focus centred on the
home group to the individual as unit within a larger aggregation called
the state. Authorities for acceptable action from dream-based insights
and oral tradition changed to rules based on written historical
precedent and the definition of what is acceptably real as documented
objectively seen phenomena. These differences in concept still
contribute to major misunderstandings between members of cultures with
written languages and those who have lived by traditions handed down
orally. Hedden pointed out that as written languages supplanted oral
traditions in each cultural area, traditions of painting or carving
images on natural rock surfaces also ended.
On Friday evening, Carol Patterson-Randolph, of Urraca Productions in
Washington State, carried on the theme with a discussion of rock art as
sign language, giving examples explained by Native informants and by
site context from western United States. She pointed out that images
commonly interpreted literally by Western observers as mountain sheep
served as metaphors for people, and that details and attributes of these
sheep give information about the nature of the trail and the terrain,
and may contain vital information about the presence of springs in a dry
country or mark the move-ments of the people. These signs can be
readily understood, even across language barriers, by other Natives.
Carol stressed the need for going directly to Native sources for an
emic or inside interpretation of significances attached to rock art
motifs as opposed to the West-ern scientific or etic interpretations
which tend to merely classify motifs by their apparent or superficial
During a day-long presentation of papers on Saturday, Michael
Sockalexis, a Penobscot from Maine whose family came from the area of a
major petroglyph site at Embden on the Kennebec River, offered A
spiritual interpretation of the Embden petroglyphs. His work is based
on oral traditions, research into all available documentation,
interviews with elders and his own insights based on numerous visits to
the site. Edward Lenik carefully reviewed two centuries of etic
Euroamerican theories on the significance of a series of engraved
mask-like faces on bedrock exposures at Bellows Falls, Vermont, and
rejected all of them in favour of an explanation consistent with known
Algon-kian traditions of receiving spiritual power at such special or
unique natural settings.
Presentations by Jean Allen (Alabama), Daniel Arsen-ault (Québec), Carol
Diaz-Granados (Missouri), Iloilo Jones (Illinois), Deborah Morse-Kahn
(Minnesota), Lori Stanley (Iowa) and David Lowe (Wisconsin) detailed an
abundance of both old and new finds of pre-Historic rock art in their
respective areas which have generally been overlooked or ignored by more
traditional archaeologists. In all these areas, there were repeated
references to archaeological surveyors failing to notice rock exposures
with petroglyphs and declaring rock art to be absent from these
localities. The problem, as Iloilo Jones pointed out, seems to be a
tendency to focus on ground surfaces without looking up at nearby rock
Alan Watchman presented two dates of 3000 ± 205 years BP and 1100 ± 200
BP from a rock painting site in south-western Maine (ME 21.26). The
dates, contracted for by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, are
based on a new technique of radiocarbon analysis of micro-samples of
carbonaceous matter trapped in silica deposits that overlie red ochre
paint. While silica deposits have obscured whatever stylistic features
may still survive of the paintings dated, the dates are consistent with
the time frame inferred for a 3000 year sequence of Algonkian petroglyph
styles at Machias Bay on the Maine Coast (see article by Hedden in Rock
art of the Eastern Woodlands, 1996). Visible paintings at ME 21.26
belong stylistically to the latest pre-Historic through the Contact
Period of rock paintings in the Canadian Shield. In a discussion of the
earliest known Maine petroglyphs at Machias Bay, Hedden related the
elongated hollow-bodied anthropomorphous representations to a rock art
tradition of anthropomorphous shaman figures that began about 6000
years ago among hunting/gathering bands in the mid-continent (from Texas
to Wyoming) and survived in isolated areas until the Contact Period. The
Maine examples can be directly related to paintings and petroglyphs
dated before 3000 BP around the western Great Lakes.
Finally, a paper presented by Fred Coy of Kentucky reviewed the
long-documented history of a pecked footprint petroglyph in limestone
reported in 1816 on the Mississippi River shore at St. Louis, which was
removed to New Harmony, Indiana, in 1819 by the Rappites, a German
religious group. A careful analysis of the early illustrations of the
petroglyph and the eroded, partially retouched original enabled Dr Coy
to identify characteristics more likely to be associated with the foot
of a Euro-pean than that of a Native American.
On Saturday evening after dinner, Jean Labrador, Micmac, Debbie Brooks,
Passamaquoddy, and Mike Sockalexis, Penobscot, led an impromptu Native
American session of drumming, singing and dancing, open to all who
wanted to participate. Native Americans Jean Tait of Manitoba and Allen
Sylliboy of Nova Scotia exhi-bited their art.
A visit to another Machias Bay petroglyph site, ME 62.1, took place on
Sunday morning, 26 May. Jean Labrador again volunteered a moving song of
welcome to the spirits, facing the heavens and deeps and the four
directions, each in turn, directly above paired shaman figures on an
outer ledge who represent the earliest petroglyphs on the site.
Participants, this time, removed their shoes without prompting. As the
ceremony was unplanned, there was some confusion and misunderstanding
between Native Americans present and those of Euroamerican descent. The
latter, as they became aware of the ceremony, stood respectfully at a
distance. The Native Americans stood in a cluster around Jean, some
looking angrily at the Euroamericans who felt it was not right to
The final event of the conference, a Talk About, took place on Sunday
afternoon and provided a unique opportunity for a number of grievances
and misunder-standings to be explicitly stated in a heavily charged but
controlled procedure. The concept for a Talk About grew out of a
conversation with Wayne Newell, Passa-maquoddy educator and scholar, who
agreed to come to the conference to talk about what he had heard about
ceremonial things from his elders. The choice of the term has
(deliberate) overtones of an Australian Aboriginal custom called a
walkabout, where extensive journeys to sacred places are undertaken.
Participants took their places informally in a circle. A speakers baton
had been prepared by Jessie Hedden who found a long staff of driftwood
on the shore by the petroglyph site visited on Friday and added feathers
and seashells from the same locus. The baton was passed around the
circle to whoever wished to speak. The speaker talked for as long as
Over a period of three hours, the speakers baton passed three times
around the circle. Among some twenty-odd participants, six were Native
Americans who expressed varying degrees of frustration (ranging from
controlled to very hot!) with the situation they found themselves and
their people in. The degree of heat expressed was a revelation to the
nominally oblivious Euroamericans present. Some were discomforted to the
point that they felt obliged to leave the circle. Others stuck through
it and were deeply moved. One participant whose family owned the
shore-front abutting a major petroglyph site on Machias Bay offered to
divide the property so that the section overlooking the site could go to
the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The reaction went both ways. During the first
circle of Jessies invention, the speakers baton, the most outspoken
Passamaquoddy held it out at arms length and said in a tone of disgust
Who made this ugly thing? At the last circling, he held it
contemplatively and said This looks more beautiful every time I hold
Special thanks are owed to Jane Hinson and Naida Pennell and other
members of the University of Maine at Machias staff for their patience
and thoughtfulness in overlooking the details and support for the
conference. Carol Patterson-Rudolph and Alan Watchman took time out from
a busy schedule to come 3000 miles two days early and do yeoman efforts
to prepare for the conference along with my good friend and associate
Ray Gerber. Theodore Enslin, who introduced me to Maine and has remained
a steadfast friend, overcame deep grief to recite a poem on petroglyphs
at the opening of the Saturday program in memory of his son Jacob.
Postscript: The conference at Machias was also the occasion for the
formal organisation of the Eastern States Rock Art Research Association
(ESRARA). Four newsletters a year are planned (two have already been
published). Other publications are projected. Dues are US$10.00 a year.
To receive newsletters and announce-ments send name, address and cheque
made out to ESRARA to:
P.O. Box 4335
Helena, Montana 59604
SIARB INTERNATIONAL ROCK ART CONGRESS
Cochabamba, Bolivia, 1-6 April 1997
Rationale for Symposium 5:
Administration and conservation of rock art
Conveners: Graeme Ward and Claire Smith (Australia), Jean Clottes
This symposium provides the opportunity for a wide-ranging discussion of
matters relating to the conservation and preservation of rock images and
the management and administration of sites and areas containing rock
pictures. Intending participants should offer papers under these
· Measures for the physical conservation of places: e.g. control of
water and other weathering agents upon painted and carved rock faces;
identification of natural preservation agents;
· Visitor control: the use in the protection of places of various
control measures such as fencing and caging of sites, directional
lighting and guiding, the use of boardwalks, visitor books and
· The role of prehistory parks, facsimiles and replicas in the
protection of rock picture sites;
· The roles and scope of legislation and of education in developing
positive attitudes toward the protection of sites;
· The instigation and administration of cultural heritage programs for
the conservation and management of places: roles of research and funding
in protection projects;
· The ownership and custodianship of places: the rights and
obligations in cultural heritage of indigenous peoples and of central
agencies in protection of rock picture sites;
· The ownership and control of intellectual property relating to rock
pictures: the practices and ethics of obtaining and providing
information about the imagery observed by visitors to managed sites;
· The ethnics of conservation and management: practices of consulting
indigenous owners of sites about research, protection measures and
sampling for dating.
Abstracts to SIARB, Casilla 3091, La Paz, Bolivia. Fax (591) 2 711809;
with copies to one of the conveners.
ROCK ART CONGRESS
Cochabamba, Bolivia, 1-6 April 1997
Sociedad de Investigación del Arte Rupestre de Bolivia
Sponsored by IFRAO, UNESCO, Ministry of Human Development, National
Secretary of Culture, SIARB, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Instituto
de Investigaciones Antropológicas y Museo Arqueológico Cochabamba,
Centro Pedagógico y Cultural Simón I. Patiño
1. ROCK ART DATING: Alan Watchman, Australia/Canada, and André Prous,
2. THE EARLIEST ROCK ART IN THE AMERICAS: Jack Steinbring, U.S.A., and
Juan Schobinger, Argentina.
3. THE EARLIEST ROCK ART - A WORLD PERSPECTIVE: Robert G. Bednarik,
Australia, and Paul G. Bahn, U.K.
4. NEW APPROACHES TO ROCK ART STUDIES: Francesco dErrico, France, and
Cliff Ogleby, Australia.
5. ADMINISTRATION AND CONSERVATION OF ROCK ART: Graeme K. Ward and
Claire Smith, Australia, and Jean Clottes, France.
6. NEW STUDIES OF ROCK ART IN SOUTH AMERICA: Luis Briones, Chile, C. N.
Dubelaar, Netherlands, Carlos Aschero and Mercedes Podestá, Argentina,
and Freddy Taboada T., Bolivia.
7. ROCK ART, ETHNOGRAPHY AND RELIGION: Alicia Fernández Distel,
Argentina, and Roy Querejazu Lewis, Bolivia.
Apart from the seven symposia, there will be a Round Table on Rock art
and schools, chaired by Professor Dario Seglie (CeSMAP, Italy) and
Matthias Strecker (SIARB, Bolivia).
Other special events include: a series of lectures by international
specialists on rock art for the general public (J. Clottes on Chauvet
Cave, lectures on rock art of Argentina, Chile etc.); a ceremony to pay
tribute to four pioneers in South American rock art: C. N. Dubelaar
(Holland), Carlos J. Gradin (Argentina), Hans Niemeyer Fernández (Chile)
and Antonio Núñez Jiménez (Cuba).
Also, the Annual Meeting of the International Federation of Rock Art
Organizations (IFRAO) will take place during the Congress. The SIARB
Congress will be the largest rock art conference ever held in Latin
America. There will be a participation of at least 200 persons from
different Latin American countries, North America, Europe, Australia and
SIARB is preparing a program of excursions and field trips to take place
in the week before the Congress and after it. Participants requiring
further details now are asked to contact Matthias Strecker at the SIARB
address below. All camping equipment can be hired at he Congress,
including sleeping bags. Cochabamba is at an altitude of about 2500 m,
with a most agreeable climate. In April, the temperature ranges from
15-25ºC. The city is central to various rock art regions and lies
between the Andes and the tropical lowlands.
Three extensive expositions will be presented: 1. Rock Art World
Heritage (SIARB), 2. Ancient Rock Art of Patagonia (Argentina), 3.
Rock Art of Minas Gerais (Brazil). Besides, a permanent exposition on
rock art of the Dept. of Cochabamba, Bolivia will be inaugurated; and a
number of participants will present small exhibits from different
Cochabamba is a town of 400 000. There are numerous hotels which range
in price from $A8.00-90.00. The following are recom-mended by the
Congress (prices per night, in US$):
***** Hotel Portales 70
**** Hotel Cochabamba 66
**** Hotel Diplomat 55 65
**** Hotel Aranjuez 59
*** Hotel Mary 17
*** Hotel Regina 20
*** Hotel Ideal 20
Residencial Jordán 12
Residencial Jardín 8
BB = buffet breakfast, CB = continental breakfast
The Portales, Cochabamba and Aranjuez are closest to the congress venue.
It is important that all accommodation bookings be done through the same
agency. For reservations, please contact, or instruct your travel agent
to contact: FREMEN, Casilla 1040, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Tel. (591) 42 59392; Fax: (591) 42 59686.
Registration fees after 1 October 1996: participants US$30.00, audience
Please send registrations and queries to SIARB, Casilla 3091, La Paz,
Bolivia. Fax (591) 2 711809.
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