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Van Hoek, M. 2021. Accessing the Inaccessible. Rock Art of Quilcapampa, southern Peru. Oisterwijk, the Netherlands.

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Abstract

This book was written by me to serve as a supplement to a most extensive survey of the Wari Settlement at Quilcapampa in the Sihuas Valley of Southern Peru, the results of which were published in 2021 after many years of meticulous excavation and research, which started in 2013 by the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ). Their surveys resulted in the publication of a most informative book called: Jennings, J., W. Yépez Álvarez and S. L. Bautista (eds.). 2021. Quilcapampa. A Wari Enclave in Southern Peru. University Press of Florida (https://upf.com/book.asp?id=9780813066783). However, my study only deals with the rock art at Quilcapampa, which was discussed in their Chapter 3: “Making Quilcapampa: Trails, Petroglyphs, and the Creation of a Moving Place”, written by Stephen Berquist, Felipe Gonzalez-Macqueen and Justin Jennings. Besides more general remarks about Quilcapampa rock art, I also focus on specific types of Quilcapampa petroglyphs in my book, like the “Carcancha”, the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph and in particular on the “Trophy” Head, for which I propose a purpose that differs from the generally accepted theory. The findings of the PIAQ regarding the Plaza at Quilcapampa Settlement (discussed in their Chapter 4) seem confirm my theories that Quilcapampa rock art is firmly related with Apu Ampato.
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Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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Accessing the Inaccessible
Rock Art of Quilcapampa, southern Peru
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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Rock Art of Quilcapampa, southern Peru
This book was written by me to serve as a supplement to the most extensive survey
of the Wari Settlement at Quilcapampa in the Sihuas Valley of Southern Peru, the
results of which were published in 2021 after many years of meticulous
excavation and research, which started in 2013 by the Proyecto de Investigación
Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ). Their surveys resulted in the
publication of a most informative book called: Quilcapampa - a Wari Enclave
in Southern Peru (Jennings et al. 2021a). However, my study only deals with the
rock art at Quilcapampa, which was discussed in Chapter 3: Making
Quilcapampa: Trails, Petroglyphs, and the Creation of a Moving Place, written
by Stephen Berquist, Felipe Gonzalez-Macqueen and Justin Jennings.
However, the content of my study expresses my own observations and theories
(unless otherwise stated) regarding the rock art of this fascinating site, for which
only I am responsible, even though they are based for a large part on the
(photographic) documentation carried out by Stephen Berquist and other
members of the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La
Antigua (PIAQ).
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CONTENTS
CONTENTS 3
Acknowledgements 4
Regarding the Illustrations 5
INTRODUCTION 7
PART 1: Quilcapampa Petroglyphs 19
Abstract petroglyphs 19
Biomorphic petroglyphs 33
Death Related Petroglyphs 47
PART 2: The Regional Context 66
Absent Links With Other Sites 66
Links With Other Sites 69
PART 3: Reconsidering the Concept of the Majes “Trophy” Head 57
FINAL OBSERVATIONS 82
Rock Art Identity 85
APPENDICES 90
REFERENCES 98
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Although my wife Elles and I visited the rock art site of Quilcapampa two times,
this study would never have been possible without the professional and much
appreciated help from Justin Jennings, archaeologist from the University of
Toronto, Department of Anthropology of the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada,
who, together with Stephen Berquist - also a member of the Proyecto de
Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ) - documented most
of the rock art at this impressive site. Stephen made an enormous amount of
photographs with a drone, which he and Justin generously shared with me,
together with many hand-made photos and relevant additional information, which
has been used in this study. However, the content and graphics presented in this
study are completely my responsibility.
I am also grateful to Karolina Juszczyk of the Proyecto Toro Muerto (2015-2017:
Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Poland / 2018 - 2021: Instituto
de Estudios Ibéricos e Iberoamericanos, University of Warsaw, Poland) for
sharing with me numerous high-resolution photographs of Toro Muerto rock art,
some of which have been used in this study.
I also thank Rainer Hostnig and César Cox Beuzeville for sharing with me useful
information and many photographs about several rock art sites in Peru. Renata
Faron-Bartels was so kind to provide me with a copy of an article by Hans Dieter
Disselhoff about rock art in Arequipa. Finally, I thank my wife Elles for assisting
me in the field, as well as her continuing support at home.
Cover photo: Panel 8 at Section B of Sector 7 at Quilcapampa. Photograph © by the
Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ). Drawing
on page 1: Detail of a rock panel at Toro Muerto. Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek,
based on an illustration by Posso Sánchez (2020: Fig. 21). Photos on page 2:
Quilcapampa from the north. Photographs © by Maarten van Hoek. Photo on page 6:
A member of the PIAQ-team inspecting Panels 8 and 9 in Section B of Sector 7 at
Quilcapampa. Estimated height of the uppermost panel above the access-path (not the
valley floor) is about 11 meters. Photograph © by PIAQ.
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Regarding the Illustrations
While my wife and I have visited quite a few of the sites mentioned in this study,
for a big part I am drawing (literally and metaphorically) from the help of many
people, especially those people mentioned in the acknowledgements, but also
from the publications that I have available at home and otherwise from other
sources, mainly found online (though often meagre and possibly unreliable). Most
of the illustrations in this study are based on the hundreds of drone-photos made
by Stephen Berquist, to which I often added my personal information. Those
drone-photos have GPS information, which has been used by me to approximate
the locations of several panels in Google Earth. Also, the distances and altitudes
mentioned in this study are all based on Google Earth and are only roughly
correct.
Several drawings that I made - especially for this study - are only rough sketches,
often being based on photographs that were faint. Be assured that I did my utmost
to produce reliable drawings based on photos made by me, but especially when
made by other authors. But even then, especially salient details may have been
misinterpreted by me and thus I am again the only one responsible for any error.
Regarding the drawings it must be noted that in most cases only the relevant
images are shown. The other images on the same panel have often been ignored
by me. No scales were available.
All the photographs used in this study have been digitally enhanced by me.
Therefore colours and other properties may well be different from the original
illustrations. Several photos may be rather faint due to the awkward locations of
the panels. Again, only I am responsible for those enhanced pictures.
Finally, notice that all illustrations in this study are my copyright (unless stated
otherwise). However, all my graphic material may be used and published by
anyone on the strict condition that any illustration always remains completely
unchanged and thus always includes my name and the information that I added
to the illustration. Moreover, I should be credited in the caption. Illustrative
material in this book by other authors (see the captions and acknowledgements)
always remains their copyright and my permission to use my material therefore
excludes the use of their material. The drone-photos are © by Stephen Berquist -
PIAQ; the hand-made photos are © by PIAQ. In case someone wishes to use a
photograph or illustration made by another author, please contact the relevant
person to ask permission.
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An almost inaccessible panel at Quilcapampa.
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Introduction
Quilcapampa is an extensive petroglyph site in the central Sihuas Valley of southern Peru. It
consists of a high escarpment of fragmented volcanic rock on the right (west) bank of the valley.
Mainly to the east, but also to the south and north the site overlooks the narrow floodplain,
which is cultivated in a few places. Directly across the valley from Quilcapampa on the east
bank are several other outcrops of volcanic rock that bear petroglyphs as well. The site is easily
reached from Arequipa via the Pan-Americana Sur, as since 2016 the former dirt-track leading
north from Tambillo bridge through the Sihuas Valley is now asphalted.
Paradoxically however, this does not mean that the site is easily accessible. In fact it is one of
the most inaccessible sites that I have ever visited in the Desert Andes of South America. Yet
it is evident that even the deceptively most inaccessible petroglyph at the site must have been
accessible for the manufacturer, who - no doubt - often took quite a risk descending and
ascending the steep and crumbling cliffs (possibly often with a rope or ladder) to reach the
desired rock panel. Also because of its inaccessibility it is certain that not all petroglyphs at
Quilcapampa have ever been recorded. Moreover, it is also a fact that a considerable number of
petroglyphs have been damaged or even completely destroyed. Therefore, taking all these facts
into account I am convinced that not any future survey will be able to fully document all the
petroglyphs that the ancient peoples of Sihuas once manufactured at Quilcapampa.
Consequently, it must be realised that also this study can only offer an inadequate and
incomplete impression of the rock art once produced at Quilcapampa.
Therefore, this study does not attempt at all to present a complete scientific inventory of the
site. It mainly serves to offer an impression of what is available, together with an imperfect
investigation of the possible links with other rock art sites in the larger Study Area. The larger
Study Area in question comprises the stretch of coastal desert between the River Caravelí in the
west and the River Vítor - Chili in the east (Figure 1; see also my [already outdated] map in
Jennings, Van Hoek, et al. 2019: Fig. 2), but of course the focus will be on the rock art site of
Quilcapampa and the two neighbouring pampas (Figure 2).
Importantly, any claim regarding parallels between the rock art imagery of Quilcapampa and
the neighbouring valleys may well be premature. For instance, the iconic figure of the Majes
“Dancer” has not (yet!?) been reported at Quilcapampa or at any other rock art site in the Sihuas
Valley, but that may change, because not every rock panel has been scanned, especially not for
details (which are often crucial in interpreting the rock art). As a final consequence all statistics
regarding the numbers of petroglyphs at Quilcapampa only represent the very minimum, as -
in my opinion - do all diagrams (Berquist et al. 2021: Figs 3.6; 3.7 and 3.11), distribution maps
and tables so far published. This study is no exception. Yet, it will be very interesting to
compare the petroglyphs of Quilcapampa with the other petroglyph sites in the Sihuas Valley
and in the neighbouring valleys in order to establish cultural links and possible migratory routes,
but unfortunately only very few (rock art) sites in the larger Study Area have been (fully)
documented. Despite all those problems this study will attempt to present a general overview
of the most important types of petroglyphs at Quilcapampa, tentatively comparing them with
petroglyphs at other sites in the larger Study Area and - most importantly - connecting the rock
art with its cultural environment, focussing on the role of the Sacred Mountains of the area.
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Figure 1. Map of the larger Study Area, showing only a small selection of rock art sites.
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on OpenStreetMap - Contributors.
History of Recording
According to the German archaeologist Hans Dieter Disselhoff the rock art site of Quilcapampa
was first discovered in 1964 by students of the University of Arequipa (1971: 41). Disselhoff
himself visited the site early 1965 and in 1971 he published a paper in which some of the rock
panels with petroglyphs were discussed and illustrated. In the same year the Peruvian
archaeologist Eloy Linares Málaga from Arequipa also visited the site and documented some
petroglyph panels and also published at least two papers about Quilcapampa (1965, 1977),
while later several papers and books partially describe and illustrate some petroglyphs from
Quilcapampa. Unfortunately, the drawings and information published by Linares Málaga are
not always reliable (Van Hoek 2014: Fig. 5; see also Figure 4A). For example, a large
petroglyph panel illustrated by Linares Málaga (1973; 2013: Fig. 45), which is said by him to
be located at Quilcapampa la Antigua, is in fact a panel of Boulder AP1-001, which is found at
Alto de Pitis, some 40 km further west, in the Majes Valley.
In this respect it is noteworthy that as early as 1971 Disselhoff already remarked that Linares
Málaga never visited most of the 30 sites that he listed in one of his publications and - moreover
- that Linares Málaga used several different names for one rock art site (1971: 35). Therefore
petroglyph panels labelled Socor and Quilcapampa by Linares Málaga may in fact refer to only
one site, as it is known that locals sometimes refer to Quilcapampa as Socor as well. According
to the ordnance survey maps Socor is located on the east bank of the Sihuas Valley, just south
of Oquines (also referring to Socor?). However, when locating Socor with the co-ordinates
provided by Linares Málaga (1973; 2013: 635), one is directed to a spot on the steep slopes of
the west bank. That spot (said by Linares Málaga to be at 1838 m asl) is actually located at 1720
m asl and - what is more - 500 m west of Rock Art Sector 3 at Quilcapampa, which is found at
1570 m. There is no rock art site at the point indicated by Linares Málaga.
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If indeed Socor is the same site as Quilcapampa, then Quilcapampa may even have been
discovered in 1951 by Linares Málaga, but in this study Socor is the (unexplored) rock art site
on the east bank, immediately opposite Sector 4 and 5 at Quilcapampa (marked “3” in Figure
2; see Figure 21; for the location of the eight Sectors at Quilcapampa see Figure 3).
Figure 2. Map of a selection of rock art sites (yellow squares) and geoglyphs (blue squares) in
relation to Quilcapampa, which is marked with a rectangle. The names listed below may
differ from those in other publications. Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on
OpenStreetMap - Contributors.
Rock Art Sites: Geoglyph Sites
1. Quebrada de la Tuna. A. Pampa de Morro.
2. Huarangel. B. (Cerro) Gentilar.
3. Socor (Oquines?). C. Huacán.
4. Tintín (or Cerro Blanco). D. Gross Munsa.
5. La Chimba Cemetery E. Tambillo West.
6. Cabracancha. F. Tambillo East.
7. Cíceras (also geoglyph site).
8. Alto de Pitis.
9. Toro Muerto.
10. Quebrada Pampa Blanca.
11. La Laja.
12. El Cubo.
13. Tacar.
14. La Caldera.
15. Mollebaya Chico.
16. Cerro Verde.
17. Culebrillas.
18. Quebrada Quichihuasi (outside the larger Study Area).
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Figure 3. Map of the eight Sectors at Quilcapampa (not marking any petroglyph panels).
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on Google Earth.
In 1986 the Cuban archaeologist Antonio Núñez Jiménez published two photographs and 47
black-and-white drawings (1986: 541 - 558), many of which are inaccurate or even incorrect.
An example is the petroglyph group on Panel A1 in Section A of Sector 7 (Figure 4; for location
see Figure APP-1: see APPendices), which was probably first illustrated by Linares Málaga in
1970 (Figure 4A) and by Núñez Jiménez in 1986 (Figure 4B). For a large part this inaccuracy
is understandable and excusable, as it is very difficult to photograph or draw the often almost
inaccessible and high-up petroglyphs. However, I have demonstrated that in general almost
25% of all the drawings published by Núñez Jiménez (1986) are inaccurate or even completely
incorrect (Van Hoek 2011a, 2021a). Finally, in this study I will ignore publications that
specifically deal with the “Wari Settlement of Quilcapampa la Antigua. Of more interest
regarding rock art studies are the publications that describe and sometimes illustrate the many
geoglyphs that are found on both sides of the Sihuas Valley. Also those geoglyphs will be more
fully discussed in this study, even though geoglyphs are not a form of rock art.
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Figure 4. Panel A1 in Section A of Sector 7 at Quilcapampa. A: According to Linares Málaga
(1970); B: According to Núñez Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2784); C: Photograph by the Proyecto de
Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (henceforth: PIAQ).
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In 2009 the French archaeologist Jean Guffroy included a chapter about Quilcapampa in his
book, in which he mainly described a small part of Sectors 3 and 4. He included 19 colour
photos of only that small part of Quilcapampa. One of the photos (2009: Fig. 549) shows a
smooth, dark grey boulder said by Guffroy to be covered by small cupules (which I could not
re-trace in Sector 3 and 4).
In 2013 archaeologists Justin Jennings and Willy Yépez (University of Toronto, Department of
Anthropology of the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada) started the Proyecto de Investigación
Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ), assisted in the field by many researchers.
Permission to conduct the fieldwork was granted by Peru’s Ministry of Culture (Resolución
Directoral N° 2602017/DGPA/VMPCIC/MC). Although the Project primarily focussed on the
ancient ruins on top of the escarpment at Quilcapampa (referred to in this study as the “Wari
Settlement”), also a thorough investigation of the petroglyphs (though not a complete scientific
survey) was carried out. In this respect I especially mention the intensive surveys by PIAQ-
member Stephen Berquist who documented a large part of the site with a drone. Justin and
Stephen have been so kind as to give me access to all the photographs made by the drone, as
well as many other, hand-made photos. Although I visited the site in 2006 (surveying Sector 8
at Quilcapampa) and in again 2016 (surveying Sectors 3 and 4 at Quilcapampa), the results of
this study are essentially based on the photographs and additional information supplied by
Stephen and Justin.
Because the PIAQ survey offers no official numbering of the decorated panels at Quilcapampa,
I have introduced my own system of numbering, but only for a small part. This means that many
panels mentioned or illustrated in this study have not been assigned a number or a letter.
Moreover, it has been attempted as much as possible to locate most of those panels in one of
the eight Sectors (see Figure 3). However, decorated boulders in some specific sections of the
escarpment have been assigned a number, which will also appear on some illustrations. Several
photos of panoramas of several Sectors and of some individual rock art panels are stored in the
Appendices (Figures-APP) at the end of this study.
Issues at Quilcapampa
Despite the easy access via the asphalted road on top of the site, most of the panels with
petroglyphs of Quilcapampa are practically inaccessible or hard to discern for several reasons.
The escarpment is cut by seven narrow, steep-sided, west-east running gullies, which makes it
difficult to go from one sector to the other. Moreover, the resulting eight sectors all have
escarpments steeply sloping eastwards towards the Sihuas Valley. The gradient varies from 45
to even 90 degrees in places, while the height from the valley floor to the upper edge of the
escarpment varies between 20 and 30 metres. The bedrock is much fragmented and often has
numerous hollows. Despite the east facing nature of the cliff, a decorated panel may face to the
east, south or north and even to the west. Therefore, several decorated panels will have been
escaped being noticed in any survey. Of course, also weathering and especially wind-erosion
has blurred and damaged many petroglyphs. Although east facing panels predominate, the
prehistoric peoples that produced the petroglyphs did not seem to have a specific preference.
The same goes for the nature of the panels. Smooth panels very suitable for rock art production
are often ignored, while in several cases petroglyphs appear on rough and uneven surfaces
(sometimes even located in the direct neighbourhood of - in my view - more suitable panels).
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The fragmented nature of the bedrock causes blocks of stone to be unstable and in several cases
boulders have tumbled down. This may also have been caused by the frequent earthquakes that
hit the area, the most recent (writing September 2021) being the quake at Tambillo on the 12th
of April 2020, which had a magnitude of 3.6 on the Scale of Richter. Falling rocks may thus
have damaged decorated panels or petroglyph panels may have become invisible when a
boulder landed with the decorated panel downwards. There are several spots along the cliff
where it is obvious that fallen rocks have damaged petroglyph panels (Figure 5; see also Figure
APP-2).
Figure 5. Damaged Panels B22-A and B in Sector 7 (see Figure APP-1 for location). Note the
difference between the techniques used on Panel A (superficially polished) and Panel B (more
deeply engraved). Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Above the escarpment the bedrock comprises conglomerates mixed with more loose material
that easily slips downwards. As a consequence several areas have screes of loose sands, while
others have screes of small, often sharp fragments of stone (often the result of modern
quarrying). Scree material often (partially) covers petroglyph panels. What also impedes proper
recording are the stark shades that are severely blurring the petroglyphs. Only when favourable
sunlight is available, successful photography is possible. However, from my surveys at other
sites of the MRAS it proved that there are often extremely small, mainly incised images that
are only visible and thus recordable with close-by photography in optimal light-conditions.
Unfortunately, in many cases close-up photography is practically impossible at Quilcapampa,
even with a drone.
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In recent times the initial construction of the dirt-track (and the asphalting of this former dirt-
track) severely damaged the site, not only by indiscriminately ploughing through the area, but
also by shovelling earth and boulders down the slope. Also those falling rocks severely
damaged several decorated panels. Other anthropically damaging factors are the quarrying of
stone, especially at some spots at the base of the cliffs, and because there are several paths down
the escarpment to the valley floor, there also is some vandalism at the site in the form of
unwanted graffiti.
Finally it must be mentioned that interpreting and contextualising the rock art of Quilcapampa
is not feasible without carefully investigating all other rock art sites in Sihuas and the
surrounding environment. Therefore a scientific survey of the following sites is highly
recommended (an enormous project): Socor (located across the valley; see Figure 21);
Quebrada de la Tuna, Tintín (Cerro Blanco), Oquines, Quebrada Corral Zegarra, Quebrada
Valencia, Quebrada Túnel 6, Betancourt (Hostnig 2003; please note that the several site names
in Sihuas may refer to one site only) and La Chimba. Unfortunately several sites - especially
those on the east bank and north of Socor - do not even have a name. They are found for instance
at places labelled Huarangal, Pitay, Ranchería etc. on official maps. Additionally, it is also
important to include the array of geoglyphs in the Study Area in order to explain the diffusion
of certain rock art imagery across the pampas.
Contextualising Majes Geoglyphs
Apart from rock art the Sihuas drainage has many important archaeological sites. Of special
importance of course is the “Wari Settlement just above Sector 5 at Quilcapampa, which has
been fully discussed in the extensive report by Jennings, Yépez Álvarez and Bautista (2021a),
but also several ruins that are visible in Google Earth, also on the east bank (for instance
opposite Sector 3), the excavation of which may add to the knowledge of the archaeology of
the Sihuas drainage. Also the ancient cemetery of La Chimba further south in Sihuas is of
special interest (Haeberli 2001; 2002) because of the surface find of a fragmented cane that is
decorated with specific MRAS images, including the typical Majes “Dancer” (fully discussed
in Van Hoek 2018a).
Of special interest regarding the study of rock art are the numerous geoglyphs that have been
recorded on both sides of the Sihuas Valley on the steep slopes and on the flat pampas on both
sides. At least 184 individual geoglyphs in and around the Sihuas Valley are said to have been
documented (Berquist et al. 2021: 99). Despite the fact that many rock art researchers regard
geoglyphs as a form of rock art (see for instance Berquist et al. 2021: Fig. 3.5), geoglyphs are
definitely not a form of rock art. Like paths and tracks, geoglyphs have been made in or on soil
surfaces (loose sediments), not in (like petroglyphs) or on (like pictographs) rock surfaces.
Yet, geoglyphs are often very informative, also regarding the distribution and interpretation of
rock art motifs, although it is sometimes hard to tell geoglyphs and tracks and trails apart. This
especially is the case with zigzagging tracks (often resulting on steep slopes) that may be
geoglyphs after all (examples are visible in Google Earth, for instance at 16° 19.529'S - 72°
7.902'W and at 16° 14.865'S - 72° 7.692'W). Yet, on the Pampa de Majes, west of Sihuas, a
few definite geoglyphs of zigzags and serpentines have been recorded, which definitely reflect
the rock art of Toro Muerto, further west (Van Hoek 2021b: Figs 1 and 2).
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Especially the group of geoglyphs at Huacán (Figure 6C; Geoglyph C in Figure 2; Van Hoek
2021b), as well as the group of geoglyphs east of Cerro Gentilar on the Pampas de Majes (Figure
6B; Geoglyph B in Figure 2) can be linked with petroglyphs at Toro Muerto. Most interestingly
however, a group of petroglyphs, which is almost identical to the images of the Huacán and
Cerro Gentilar geoglyphs, occurs on a rock panel in Sector 8 - North of Quilcapampa (Figure
6A; Panel 12 in Figure APP-4). In all three cases a camelid image seems to be directly
associated (?) with a linear groove and a zigzag-serpentine groove; the linear groove possibly
representing the track that the camelid follows (the zigzag also representing a track or even
running water?). A similar combination of a long, linear geoglyph (a track?) and two camelid
geoglyphs is found at Cíceras (Site 7 in Figure 2; Van Hoek 2021b). Geoglyphs of quadrupeds
(most likely camelids) have also been found in the Sihuas Valley south of Quilcapampa (for
instance around the village of Tambillo: at 16° 21.647'S - 72° 8.976'W and at 16° 20.162'S -
72° 7.986'W). Eloy Linares Málaga (1981: Fig. 7) also reported some other geoglyphs in the
area, among which was a very large geoglyph of a snake, which cannot be re-traced now.
Figure 6. A: Petroglyphs on Panel 12 at Sector 8 - North, Quilcapampa; B: Geoglyphs near
Cerro Gentilar, Pampa de Majes; C: Geoglyphs de Huacán. A: Photograph © by Stephen
Berquist - PIAQ; B and C: drawings © by Maarten van Hoek, B: based on a video by SV-
Arqueólogos; C: based on an illustration by Luis Villegas of SV-Arqueólogos (Lima, Perú).
Remarkable are the abstract geoglyphs that are (semi) circular. They only occur on the pampas
bordering the Sihuas Valley (but mainly directly west of the valley), but also quite some
distance east of the Río Vítor (involving only a few examples, possibly of different nature). It
may be important that there are several circular petroglyphs at Quilcapampa, which Berquist et
al. very tentatively compare with the circular geoglyphs (2021: 109, 121). However, any
relationship may be accidental, especially as petroglyphs of concentric circles (with or without
central cupule) occur at several other rock art sites, for instance at Toro Muerto in Majes and
Mollebaya Chico in Vítor. There also are several rectilinear geometric geoglyphs in the area
(for instance at 16° 21.019'S - 72° 7.322'W; see Figures 12E and F), the most complex of which
is called Gross-Munsa by Eloy Linares Málaga (Geoglyph D in Figure 2; located at the east
bank at 16° 19.829'S - 72° 5.422'W).
Anthropomorphic geoglyphs are very rare in the Study Area. In 2012 my wife and I noticed an
isolated anthropomorphic geoglyph at Pampa de Morro in the middle of Pampa de Majes
(Geoglyph A in Figure 2; at 16° 25.989'S - 72° 16.956'W), which we reported a year later (Van
Hoek 2013b). Members of SV-Arqueólogos; Empresa Consultora en Arqueología (Lima, Peru)
recorded a group of geoglyphs at Huacán (Geoglyph C in Figure 2), one of which clearly
involved an anthropomorphic figure that - due to its posture - might be related to the Majes
“Dancer” (Van Hoek 2021b: Element 7 in Fig. 4).
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Members of SV-Arqueólogos also recorded a group of three anthropomorphic geoglyphs at an
undisclosed site somewhere on the Pampa de Majes (not marked in Figure 2). “Waving”
Anthropomorph A is outlined, whereas the two others are solid. Anthropomorph C might be
related to the Majes “Dancer”. Feature D may represent a “Stripe” geoglyph, but it is most
uncertain if indeed Feature D is anthropic of origin. However, of special interest here is
Anthropomorph B, which seems to carry a “Trophy” Head (indicated by an arrow in Figure 7).
Also these geoglyphs may indicate that the rock art imagery of the Majes Valley spread
eastwards (towards Sihuas). It must be mentioned that petroglyphs looking like Anthropomorph
C also occur at other rock art sites, for instance at La Caldera in Vítor, but this may be fortuitous.
Figure 7. Geoglyphs at an undisclosed location on the Pampa de Majes. Drawing © by
Maarten van Hoek, based on a photograph by archaeologist Luis Villegas of SV-Arqueólogos
(Lima, Perú), photo no longer accessible on the internet.
Accessing Quilcapampa
In order to make the rock art imagery at Quilcapampa more accessible, I have divided the site
into eight sectors (see Figure 3); Sector 1 being the southernmost one. It will be attempted as
much as possible to locate the petroglyphs that will be discussed in this study into the correct
Sector. To achieve this, especially the photographs made by Stephen Berquist with a drone -
that also registered the GPS-coordinates - were of an enormous help. Other photos - without
GPS - were made by me (note that I have never used GPS or a drone) and by members of the
Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ).
In this study all altitudes and all distances between panels and sites are based on Google Earth
and all those altitudes, locations and distances are only approximated. A few distribution maps
show the locations of a number of specific petroglyphs, like the Bilobed Design and “Trophy”
Heads. Their locations may be inaccurately marked on those maps because of the large scale of
the site (especially as the drone-GPS data only register the position of the drone, not of the
panels). Finally, I emphasise again that any inaccuracy in any illustration is entirely my
responsibility.
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The Rock Art
Ignoring a few possible exceptions, the rock art imagery at Quilcapampa belongs to the Majes
Rock Art Style, which has been discussed in detail by me earlier (Van Hoek 2013a; 2018a).
The rock art imagery found in the Majes Valley - west of Quilcapampa - is most representative
in this respect. However, because many of its typical images occur in a much larger area, I have
labelled the whole style-complex in the larger Study Area the Majes Rock Art Style (henceforth
simply referred to as MRAS or MSRA).
The major corpus of the MRAS is fundamentally characteristic and sometimes highly
idiosyncratic for only a relatively small area of the south coast of Peru; the larger Study Area
(see Figure 1). In the MRAS especially petroglyphs of (simple and complex) camelids,
quadrupeds like foxes or dogs, snakes, birds and felines occur in all valleys of the larger Study
Area (not necessarily at each site, though) and often are surprisingly alike. Also specific
imagery - like “Trophy Heads and Carcanchas - occurs at many sites in the MRAS. Also
the rock art of Quilcapampa definitely belongs to the MRAS, as it has its fair share of
petroglyphs depicting birds, camelids, canines, snakes and felines, as well as “Trophy” Heads
and Carcanchas. This study will attempt to present an (incomplete!) overview of what
Quilcapampa has to offer. Simultaneously it will be attempted to link Quilcapampa with other
MRAS sites (see Figures 1 and 2) and - importantly - with the cultural environment.
Dating Quilcapampa Rock Art
It is notoriously difficult to date rock art and the situation at Quilcapampa is no exception. Yet,
in general most of the MSRA can be dated between roughly 1000 B.C. and A.D. 1500 (ignoring
recent graffiti and some possible Colonial images). However, it is equally difficult to date
petroglyphs with certainty within such a long time-span of 2500 years. Unfortunately, Berquist
et al. tentatively suggest that “A small number of petroglyphs [at Quilcapampa] hint at
Chavinoid influences …” (2021: 120; my addition). They thus suggest a link with or influence
from the Formative Period Chavín Cult, which has its centre at Chavín de Huántar in the High
Andes in the far north of Peru (920 km NW of Quilcapampa), without however discussing or
illustrating any example from the rock art repertoire at Quilcapampa in order to support their
point.
Importantly, only an extremely small fraction of Arequipa rock art can directly and firmly be
assigned to the Formative Period based on both style and analogy. The most informative part
concerns a group of petroglyphs that belong to a very specific type of imagery, labelled the
MSC-Style by me (Van Hoek 2011b). The MSC-Style - an unbiased acronym introduced by
me to indicate a distinctive group of biomorphic images - encompasses all Andean Formative
Period (rock) art images that are too easily and - in my opinion (in most - if not all - cases)
incorrectly - labelled as Chavín-Style images or even as being of Chavín manufacture. This
MSC-acronym encompasses all MSC-Style images that either originated in the Manchay
culture (M) around Lima, and/or in the Sechín culture (S) in the Casma-Nepeña area and/or in
the Cupisnique cultures (C) that once flourished in the coastal area from Supe to Olmos-
Samanga in the far north of Peru. Although several ambiguous examples occur in Andean rock
art, most rock art images of the MSC-Style are readily recognisable and distinguishable.
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MSC-Style rock art images, which are predominantly (much) older than Chavín, are
characterised by mainly biomorphic imagery (or very specific elements thereof) especially
depicting the (often isolated) heads of zoomorphs and anthropomorphs (or conflations of the
two) with an often agnatic mouth that repeatedly shows the typical ‘fat’ lip, downward curved
mouth corners and prominent teeth and/or (interlocking) fangs, while the eyes often have
eccentric pupils.
Another characteristic of the MSC-Style is modular width, which is found in images with a
complex pattern of parallel lines (but almost always combined with other MSC-Style elements).
Petroglyphs possibly showing intentional modular width do occur at Quilcapampa, but I have
never seen a convincing MSC-Style petroglyph in the group of petroglyphs documented at
Quilcapampa.
In the larger Study Area definite MSC-Style images have so far only been reported in the Ocoña
and Caravelí drainages, while more doubtful MSC-Style petroglyphs have been reported from
the Majes Valley, especially at Alto de Pitis (Van Hoek 2018a). In Sihuas and Vítor (and also
in the rock art regions further SE of the larger Study Area) no MSC-Style rock art images are
known to me to have ever been reported, but that does not mean that none of the rock art images
in that area was produced in the Formative Period. In fact, all six drainages mentioned in this
study (Caravelí, Ocoña, Manga, Majes, Sihuas and Vítor) may have and probably will have
Formative Period rock art.
Most likely the more convincing Formative Period rock art images may have been introduced
by Páracas traders and travellers, but a purely local origin for also the MSC-Style rock art motifs
in Arequipa cannot be ruled out. There are a number of anthropomorphic petroglyphs in the
larger Study Area (and at Quilcapampa as well) that may offer more solid evidence of Páracas
influence.
For instance, there are a few anthropomorphic petroglyphs at Quilcapampa with bifurcated
appendages, whether representing snakes, hair or a headdress (see Figure 26). These bifurcated
appendages are an emblematic component of Páracas imagery (King 1983; Nieves 2007: Fig.
6.10), while Nasca iconography sometimes features bifurcated appendages from the head as
well. Although Berquist et al. (2021: 107) state that “A number of the anthropomorphs have an
X-shape across their torso, which Van Hoek (2018) associates with Paracas influence.”, I only
suggested that the X-motif, which is found on the thorax of several petroglyphs in the larger
Study Area (also at Quilcapampa) might be another indication of possible Páracas influence
(see Figures 66B and 17). Yet, as far as I could check, the X-motif is very rare in Páracas
anthropomorphic figures.
Other (groups of) petroglyphs at Quilcapampa are almost impossible to date and therefore they
may range from the Formative Period up to the Colonial Period. Two possible exceptions may
be the “Swastika Cross” petroglyph that may represent a motif derived from the Nasca Culture
(which will be discussed further on) and the impressive petroglyph classified by Berquist et al.
(2021: Fig. 3.13) as a Mummy Bundle in a checkered cloth, which has been interpreted by them
as a possible Inca tunic (see Figure 44).
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PART 1
Quilcapampa Petroglyphs
Abstract Petroglyphs
In general the MRAS has its fair share of abstract images and although biomorphic imagery
dominates (also at the rock art of Quilcapampa), distinctive abstract motifs also occur. At
Quilcapampa these abstract motifs include several grid-patterns, (complex) wandering grooves,
some spirals, at least one outlined - but empty - equal armed cross, parallel and serpentine
grooves, X-motifs, at least one - previously unrecorded - Pipette Design (on Panel 26 in Section
B of Sector 7; for location see Figure APP-1) (Van Hoek 2018b) and concentric rings (with or
without a centrally placed cupule or dot).
Several (often complex) patterns cannot be easily classified, like the fringed, square design at
Sector 3 (yellow arrow in Figure APP-3). Another fine example is the large and complex
petroglyph recorded by Eloy Linares Málaga (2004: 119). This impressive petroglyph - located
at the very top of the escarpment of Sector 4 - was interpreted by him as a bird (ave), which is
probably erroneous, because his drawing (Figure 8A), which is moreover partially incorrect,
should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise (his illustration published in 1973; 2013 - 1981: Fig. 44
should even be rotated 180 degrees).
Figure 8. Petroglyph at Sector 4, Quilcapampa. Drawing B shows the correct position of the
panel in the field. Drawings © by Maarten van Hoek, based on two illustrations by Eloy Linares
Málaga (2004: 119; 2013-1981: Fig. 44). However, both drawings are incorrect and incomplete.
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Indeed, distinguishing between abstract and biomorphic is in general often difficult. This
problem especially concerns several specific petroglyphs at Quilcapampa, as will be
demonstrated further on. Yet various petroglyphs at Quilcapampa are clearly abstract to us
western-minded researchers and in general any attempt at interpretation of - especially complex
- abstract patterns is therefore notoriously difficult, if not impossible. Although Quilcapampa
clearly falls within the sphere of the MRAS, the site seems to lack the impressive zigzag and
stripe petroglyphs that are so characteristic for Toro Muerto (and to a lesser extent for Alto de
Pitis). In contrast, Quilcapampa has several, (often complex) abstract designs, some of which
seem to be unique to Quilcapampa. Some of these designs will be discussed in more detail
further on. However, I will start with the simplest form of rock art: the cupule, which is -
however - also often incorporated in complex abstract designs.
Cupules and Associated Abstract Motifs
Surprisingly, the cupule represents a true dichotomy in MRAS. It is a fact that cupules are most
abundant in MRAS, but only when directly associated with biomorphic imagery (mainly as
body-infill or as facial features). In contrast, rock panels with unrelated cupules are in fact very
rare in MRAS. For instance, I know of only two boulders at Toro Muerto (of the estimated total
of 2600 to perhaps 3000 decorated boulders) that have only cupules. Also at Quilcapampa
unrelated cupules are rare (conveniently disregarding the numerous natural cupule-shaped
depressions at the site as well). Jean Guffroy (2009: Fig. 549) published a photo of a small
boulder - probably located at Sector 3 or 4 - of which he claims that it is covered in cupules
(2009: 254). A vertical rock panel (Panel A of Cluster 5 in Section B of Sector 7; see Figure
APP-6 for location) has at least five oblong depressions or long cupules that are clearly
anthropic and some possible standard cupules (see Figure 34A).
At Sector 5 at Quilcapampa the impressive Balancing Bird Head Rock (a name invented by me)
has a decorated panel with several abstract and biomorphic petroglyphs, some of which seem
to have been superimposed by some large, randomly arranged and crudely cupule-shaped
(anthropic?) depressions (Figure 9B). The upper surface of a large boulder (Panel 15 in Section
B of Sector 7; for location see Figure APP-10) has a very faint (biomorphic?) petroglyph, while
on the extreme north edge of the same panel is a straight line of at least ten rather small cupules
(see Figure APP-10). Nearby are two panels (Panels 16 and 19 in Figure APP-10), each with a
feline petroglyph with the characteristic cupule-infill.
Figure 9. A: The Balancing Bird Head Rock looking west (the arrow indicates a large panel
with a very complex ring-lines pattern). Photograph © by PIAQ. B: The petroglyphs on the
Balancing Bird Head Rock (showing the possible cupules) looking NE. Photograph © by
Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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Only a very short distance NNE of the Balancing Bird Head Rock in Sector 5 is a large,
fragmented and steeply sloping, east facing rock panel. It has at least four patterns where cup-
and-ring motifs and concentric ring motifs are connected by one or more parallel grooves
(Figure 10). Especially Group 1 has deeply carved rings and grooves; the others are less deep
and more weathered. A pattern similar to Group 1 occurs on a damaged panel, also in Sector 5,
except that this time the central motif is a deeply carved spiral (see Figure 58). Above the spiral
is a rather weathered petroglyph of a Bilobed Design (indicated with an orange arrow in Figure
18; this design will be discussed in more detail below) and - higher up - a configuration of two
snake-like petroglyphs, a “Trophy Head and a quadruped (see Figures 18 and 59). Also this
striking configuration will be discussed in more detail further on. Below the spiral is a large,
deeply carved concentric ring motif that might be associated with a zigzagging motif (a possible
zoomorph?) comprising three parallel-running grooves.
Figure 10. Petroglyphs of rings connected by parallel lines in Sector 5. Photographs © by
Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
In Sector 1 are some panels with often deeply carved circular motifs. A very faint example
comprising a large concentric ring motif with two sets of connecting parallel grooves has been
recorded by PIAQ in the north part of Quilcapampa. Some very faint, isolated concentric motifs
(with or without a central dot) have also been recorded at Quilcapampa.
Group 4 in Figure 10 represents a dumbbell (two circular motifs connected by two straight,
parallel grooves). A similar, but much smaller dumbbell (with much shorter connecting
grooves, though) is found in Sector 8 on a large vertical panel about 780 m north of the
Balancing Bird Head Rock. This dumbbell is rather superficially manufactured (or perhaps
more weathered). About 470 m south of the Balancing Bird Head Rock - in Sector 2 - is a motif
of three deeply carved concentric ring motif touched by three smaller circular motifs.
Immediately opposite (NW of) the Balancing Bird Head Rock is a large, vertical, east facing
rock panel (indicated with an arrow in Figure 9A) that has numerous petroglyphs (and some
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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unwanted recent graffiti). It is divided in two parts by a large crack. The south part mainly has
faint and confusing images, but the north part has a deeply carved and most complex design
comprising cup-and-rings and concentric rings, most of which are again connected by parallel
grooves. Above this complex design is at least one anthropomorphic figure with internal dots.
Possibly related to the complex cup-and-ring designs are two large petroglyphs that perhaps
symbolise the sun. They are found on a south facing panel at Sector 8 (Figure 11A). Each of
the two images comprises three rings and from the outer ring several short lines (sun-rays?)
emerge. Interestingly, the innermost ring contains three dots that are so arranged that they seem
to mimic a face. Anthropomorphised solar motifs are very rare in MSRA. A very large example
(diameter unknown to me) has been recorded at the rock art site of Cíceras in the Majes drainage
(Figure 11B; Van Hoek 2021e: Fig. 4). A much detailed example (of about 27 cm across) has
been recorded at the rock art site of Río Caravelí South (Figure 11C; see Van Hoek 2018a). A
much smaller anthropomorphised solar petroglyph (measuring only 7 cm across) has been
recorded by me at Toro Muerto (Figure 11D). At Sector 8 at Quilcapampa is a panel with a
rather small petroglyph of a solar motif (a simple cup-and-ring) with many rays, but without
facial features. There are some more (often faint) “solar” petroglyphs at Quilcapampa.
Figure 11. Anthropomorphised solar motifs. A: Quilcapampa. Photograph © by PIAQ; B:
Cíceras. Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on an illustration by Marco Antonio Torres;
C: Río Caravelí South. Photograph © by Mario Antonio Casas Berdejo; D: Toro Muerto.
Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.
The Purported “Dagger” Motif
Berquist et al. (2021: 109) also mention the presence of a so-called “dagger” motif at
Quilcapampa. A “dagger” petroglyph (Van Hoek 2018a: 15 - 16) actually always concerns a
set of two vertically mirrored, triangular motifs, each with a curl on top (Figure 12A to D). The
dagger element sometimes looks like the well-known Andean stepped element and thus might
represent a mountain. Consequently the curl- or spiral-element might represent the ocean or -
in general - water (a concept elaborated further in: Van Hoek 2004). Those mirrored dagger
petroglyphs - always vertically orientated with their points pointing downwards - are (so far)
found only at Toro Muerto in the Majes Valley.
The stepped pattern with a curl is found in many Andean cultures, but especially in Wari
iconography, and thus I suggested that the ‘dagger’ motif may be a Wari element, introduced
to the Study Area for instance via Wari textiles (Van Hoek 2018a: 15 - 16). Therefore the
remark by Berquist et al. (2021: 109) that I explicitly associate [the “dagger”] with Wariis
incorrect. It may be a Wari element (but equally it may be Inca). I have suggested (Van Hoek
2018a) that - in general - the Majes “Rectangular Bird” may show Wari influences. In this
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respect it may be telling that the petroglyph of a Majes “Rectangular Bird” on Panel TM-Sw-
106B at Toro Muerto has an outlined wing that shows a distinct stepped pattern (Van Hoek
2018a: Fig. 87), one of the extremely rare petroglyphs in MSRA involving the stepped pattern.
Figure 12. “Dagger” petroglyphs at Toro Muerto, Majes Valley. A: TM-Ba-019; B: TM-Cd-
064; C: TM-Bb-001; D: TM-Xx-091. Drawings © by Maarten van Hoek, A and C: based on
my own photos; B: based on a photo by the Proyecto Arqueológico Toro Muerto; C: based on
a photo by Karol Liver. E and F: Geoglyphs near Tambillo, Sihuas Valley. Drawings © by
Maarten van Hoek, E: based on a photograph by SV-Arqueólogos (Lima, Perú); F: based on
Google Earth.
Figure 13. The purported “dagger” petroglyph at Sector 3, Quilcapampa. Note the faint
(solar?) motif. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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The same uncertainty goes for two sets of geoglyphs found in the Sihuas Valley (10.5 and 12.5
km SSW of the “Wari Settlement at Quilcapampa) comprising stepped patterns combined with
curls. They may be Wari, but this cannot be evidenced. One SE facing geoglyph (Tambillo-
West) is found on the west bank (Figure 12E; at 16°19'25.42"S and 72° 7'51.62"W) and - 3 km
to the SSE across the valley - one NW facing example (Tambillo-East) on the east bank (Figure
12F; at 16°21'1.13"S and 72° 7'19.30"W). In my opinion there is no relationship between those
Sihuas geoglyphs and the “dagger” petroglyphs at Toro Muerto.
After having seen PIAQ photographs of the petroglyph of the purported “dagger” motif at
Quilcapampa (Figure 13), I am convinced that the “dagger” motif has not (yet?) been recorded
at Quilcapampa (the ‘dagger” entry in Berquist et al. Fig. 3.11 and their remarks about the
“dagger” should therefore be ignored). The petroglyph Berquist et al. (2021: 109) refer to, more
likely is either a unique abstract motif or perhaps even an abstracted anthropomorphic figure; a
category to which I shall return to further on. Finally, the purported “dagger” motif is found in
Sector 3, about 420 SSE of the “Wari Settlement (which is located above Sector 5), which
makes a Wari association even more doubtful. Concluding, the purported “dagger” petroglyph
at Quilcapampa is not admitted as a true dagger” motif here and consequently it does not
establish a link with Toro Muerto either.
The “Chromosome
Sometimes it is just one single petroglyph (in this case also unique to Quilcapampa?) that has
its parallel at another site in the larger Study Area. In Sector 7 (for locations see Figure APP-1)
there is an important cluster of petroglyph panels, including (on Panel 1 in Section B) the - so
far - only anthropomorph that carries a “TrophyHead. Several meters above this important
figure is Panel 14 (also in Section B, but invisible from below). It features a curvilinear pattern,
a grid pattern and two large pecked areas with four linear appendages at the top (at least partially
obliterating one petroglyph of a simple, outlined quadruped). To their left is a much smaller
pecked area in which an elongated X-motif has been left untouched (indicated by the arrow in
the lower inset in Figure 14B). It looks like an X-chromosome. Importantly, some almost
similar motifs have been recorded by me on Boulder TM-Be-083 at Toro Muerto, 46 km to the
west (upper inset in Figure 14B). Therefore, in contrast with the purported ‘Dagger” motif at
Quilcapampa, this Chromosome” motif may provide evidence for an exchange of imagery and
ideas between Sihuas and the Majes Valley.
The Bilobed Design
Another design that most likely is unique to Quilcapampa as well is the Bilobed Design, also
categorised as the Line-and-Node petroglyph by Berquist et al. (2021: Fig, 3.15; 120), but
remarkably also as a “Phytomorph” (2021: Fig. 3.6). Yet, in their 2021-chapter they do not
explain why they alternatively categorise this pattern as a phytomorph. Moreover, I question
very much whether the Bilobed Design depicts or symbolises a plant. Yet, there may be some
petroglyphs at Quilcapampa that may depict or symbolise plants (for instance on Panels B8 and
B13 at Section B of Sector 7 - indicated by blue arrows in respectively Figures 15 and 14B).
Also at another (undisclosed) petroglyph site on the east bank of the Sihuas Valley a possible
phytomorphic petroglyph has been recorded.
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Figure 14. Panel B14 at Section B of Sector 7, Quilcapampa. Photographs © by Stephen
Berquist - PIAQ. Upper inset: Detail of Panel TM-Be-083 at Toro Muerto. Photograph © by
Maarten van Hoek.
Figure 15. Panels B8 and B9 at Section B of Sector 7, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by PIAQ.
Basically, a Bilobed Design is a vertically arranged, abstract pattern comprising two centrally
placed, parallel lines (or in one - perhaps three - case[s] just one vertical line) that are flanked
on both sides by elements that appear to be semi-circles (the lobes). Often those semi-circular
elements prove to be rather irregularly (sometimes looking like incomplete spirals) and are not
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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always exactly arranged mirror-wise. This design is also very rare at and - as far as I can tell -
unique to Quilcapampa. Although Berquist et al. report five panels with altogether seven
examples of the Bilobed Design (2021: Fig. 3.19), there are in fact nine (or eleven) panels with
at least twelve (or fourteen) petroglyphs of the Bilobed Pattern (fourteen, when including two
doubtful examples, including one uncertain example at Sector 3, which is not discussed here).
The northernmost example of the Bilobed Design that I am aware of, is found on Panel 4 in
Sector 8 - North (for location see Figure APP-4). Near the left edge of a panel is an important
petroglyph - possibly unique to Quilcapampa as well - depicting a “feathered” anthropomorph
that I have classified as the “Feathered Homunculus” (Van Hoek 2021f). Previously I argued
that the “Feathered Homunculus” is exclusively found at Toro Muerto in the Majes Valley, but
now this example forces me to rectify myself. It is even possible that a second example is found
on a panel further south, in Sector 5, and a third (without a feather though) at the extreme south
end of the escarpment, in Sector 1. Immediately below the “Feathered Homunculus” at Sector
8 is a simple Bilobed Design comprising two rather short, vertically arranged parallel lines
flanked by three pair of lobes (see Figure 55C ).
Figure 16. Panel 1 in Sector 8 - South, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist -
PIAQ.
About 190 m to the SSE - in Sector 8 - South - is Panel 1 (for location see Figure APP-8) with
a large number of (very) faint petroglyphs and some rather deeply carved, important
petroglyphs. One includes an outlined petroglyph of a zoomorph with a snake-like extension
(addition?) emerging from the hind leg, while below this figure is a smaller, fully pecked
(abraded?) zoomorph. Centrally placed are two large, deeply carved petroglyphs of the Bilobed
Design, their lobes being irregular and not exactly arranged mirror-wise (Figure 16). To the left
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is a very small anthropomorphic figure that just possibly could be related to the Majes “Dancer”
icon (yellow arrow in Figure 16). If indeed related, this small figure would - so far - be unique
to Quilcapampa (and Sihuas). On the same panel is an important example of the Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph, to which I will return further on (orange arrow in Figure 16). Notice
the possibly stylised “Trophy” Head (red arrow in Figure 16) and the outlined arc hovering over
the head of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph, which may have been repeated at a
Carcancha” petroglyph in Sector 5 (see Figure 49).
A simpler variant of the Bilobed Design occurs on Panel 13 that is located about 23 m to the
NW of Panel 1 in Sector 8 - South (for location see Figure APP-8). It comprises only one
vertically arranged line that is flanked by a series of four semi-ovals (Figure 17). It starts from
an empty oval and ends in another oval element that just possibly could be a head (of an
anthropomorph?). On the same panel is an anthropomorphic petroglyph with an X-motif on its
thorax and a zoomorph with crossed legs. The latter configuration is - as far as I know - only
found (twice) at La Caldera in Vítor (Van Hoek 2021f: Fig. 36).
Figure 17. Panel 13 in Sector 8 - South, Quilcapampa. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist -
PIAQ.
The next petroglyph definitely depicting a Bilobed Design is found in Sector 5, about 610 m to
the SSW of Panel 1 in Sector 8 - North. Immediately above the aforementioned large spiral-
lines petroglyph is a design with two parallel lines and four sets of concentric lobes (faintly
visible and indicated with an arrow in Figure 18).
In Sector 4 (80 m further south, across the deep gully that gives access to the “Wari Settlement)
is a large panel covered with petroglyphs. On the left part is a vertically arranged petroglyph
with a single line that is flanked by four and five possible lobes. This motif could be related to
the Bilobed Design (see arrow in Figure 19). On the right part of the same panel is a “strange”,
headless anthropomorph (which will be discussed elsewhere) above flanked by two birds with
outspread wings. In Sector 3 (265 m south of Sector 4) are two very distinct examples of the
Bilobed Design which are placed close together. The larger has four lobes; the smaller three
(white arrow in Figure 20). In the same Section are three examples of the Polished
Anthropomorph (which will be discussed elsewhere).
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Figure 18. Panel at Sector 5, Quilcapampa; orange arrow: Bilobed Design; yellow arrow:
“Trophy” Head (see also Figure 59). Photograph © by PIAQ.
Figure 19. Panel at Sector 4, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Inset:
Part of the drawing by Núñez Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2816).
Another 145 m further south - at Sector 2 - is a panel with a rather small and faint example with
three lobes arranged along two parallel lines (1 in Figure APP-11). Only about one meter (?)
upslope is a bird petroglyph to the north (right) of which is a petroglyph that is possibly related
to the Bilobed Design (2 in Figure APP-11). It possibly has four lobes attached to two parallel
lines. Another metre upslope is a feline petroglyph to the south (left) of which is a pattern of
one vertical groove that is flanked by five rectangular lobes on each side (3 in Figure APP-11).
The southernmost example is found roughly 255 m further south on a large panel at Sector 1.
In this case the two parallel lines are separated by a serpentine groove, while at the top a circular
element has been added to each of the two parallel lines (illustrated in Figure 20: inset A).
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Figure 20. Group of panels at Sector 3, Quilcapampa. Yellow arrow: Bilobed Designs; orange
arrows (also Inset C): Polished Anthropomorphs; blue arrow: camelids on leash. Inset A:
Bilobed Design in Sector 1. All photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Contrary to the statement by Berquist et al. that the Bilobed Design is found at semiregular
intervals along the entire sandstone escarpment(2021: 118), the factual distribution pattern
proves the opposite. The majority of this design is clustered at Sector 8 (four examples on three
panels), then follows a large gap of 630 m, which is bereft of the Bilobed Design, before
reaching a faint example in Sector 5. About 350 m south of Sector 5 the design emerges again
in Sectors 1 to 3 having three areas with images of the Bilobed Design (see Figure 67A).
Therefore, in my opinion there is no question of semiregular intervals along the escarpment.
Having said this, the consequent theories postulated by Berquist et al. also become less credible.
Based on the assumed semiregular intervals”, Berquist et al. notably remark that the Bilobed
Designs are large for a specific reason: One possibility then is that the line-node glyphs at
Quilcapampa specifically announce the presence of a major trail (the [parallel] lines in the
glyph) that connects multiple sites (the circular nodes). This would explain why these
petroglyphs are so large: one pair [on Panel 1 at Sector 8 - South] is visible from the interpampa
trail across the narrow valley. It would also (1) explain why this glyph alone is systematically
repeated at semiregular intervals along the escarpment and (2) justify the placement of two
sets of interconnected concentric circles along the quebrada (the entrance between Sectors 4
and 5) ascending to Quilcapampa and the interpampa trails.(2021: 121; my emphases and
clarifying additions).
I have two problems with their suggestions. Firstly, I find it hard to accept that even the largest
and deeply carved set of the Bilobed Design (on Panel 1 at Sector 8 - South) would be visible
from across the Sihuas Valley (at that point spanning a distance of roughly 300 m). This might
be possible (but I seriously doubt it), but only when the sunlight creates a stark contrast of the
deeply carved petroglyphs (mainly around noon) and even then one has to know where to spot
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Panel 1 in the chaos of the heavily fragmented escarpment. However, Panel 1 is located just
above a very large, triangular boulder (Panel 2 in Figure APP-8) that might have served as an
indication. But why then not having used Panel 2 to execute the Bilobed Designs?
To demonstrate the problem of petroglyphs being visible, I refer to a rock art site across the
valley (which, in this study, is referred to as Socor). Clearly visible is the rock escarpment of
Socor located on the east side of the valley at a distance of about 265 m from Sector 4. I know
that petroglyphs have been recorded at that site. However, they are definitely invisible with the
naked eye, but even when fully having zoomed-in, I could not detect any petroglyphs in the
photograph that I made (Figure 21). Only with the aid of another photo I realised that especially
in the yellow ovals several zoomorphic and anthropomorphic petroglyphs have been
manufactured (but there probably are many more petroglyphs on other panels), while in the
orange oval even a large “Trophy” Head is present (Figure 21 inset).
Figure 21. View east across the Sihuas Valley towards the rock art site of Socor. Photograph
© by Maarten van Hoek. Inset: Petroglyph of possible “Trophy” Head at Socor. Drawing © by
Maarten van Hoek, based on an illustration by Disselhoff (1971: Abb. 20),
Secondly, except for the double Bilobed Design on Panel 1 at Sector 8 - South, all the other
examples are smaller and - on one panel (the examples at Sector 2) - even very small. Moreover,
those petroglyphs are often (much) less deeply carved and I therefore seriously doubt whether
they all can be seen from across the valley (or even from “the extant trail from the river bottom
as suggested by Berquist et al. [2021: 118]). Therefore, also their suggestion that the Bilobed
Design served to announce the presence of a major trail visible from the interpampa trail
across the narrow valleybecomes rather uncredible. Moreover, the concept of petroglyphs
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having been manufactured intentionally very large and deep to be visible from across a valley
is - as far as I know - not repeated anywhere-else in Majes Style Rock Art, while the concept
suggested by Berquist et al. (2021) should be effective elsewhere in Majes, as numerous ancient
trails criss-cross the whole area.
The “Swastika Cross”
It must be emphasised that the “Swastika Cross” symbol in Majes Style Rock Art is only
graphically (but definitely not culturally) somewhat related to the ancient Swastika symbol from
India. The examples discussed in this paragraph comprise an equal-armed cross of which all
arm-ends have a small projection (a hook, a curl, a small spiral-like curl or something else).
The “Swastika Cross” symbol is extremely rare in Majes Style Rock Art. The design has so far
been recorded only once in the Manga drainage (by Kurt Rademaker and David Reid during
their survey in 2007) and once at Toro Muerto in the Majes Valley. At Quilcapampa no less
than two petroglyphs of the “Swastika Cross” symbol have been recorded so far. They both are
found in Sector 8 - North and are separated by roughly 60 meters (for the location of one
example - on Panel 9 [Figure 22] - see Figure APP-4 for location). Because they are almost
similar and found so close together, I would not be surprised if they were made at about the
same time by the same hand. But whose hand? A local or a foreigner? I would like to
emphasise here that most (if not all) rock art in the Study Area was manufactured by members
of the local communities; not by the Páracas, Nasca, Wari or Inca foreigners who visited or
invaded the Study Area. But importantly, those foreigners did introduce new imagery and
sometimes new styles to the local peoples in the Study Area, no matter how modestly.
Figure 22. Panel 9 at Sector 8 - North, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek;
inset: photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Drawing of a Nasca ceramic; © by Maarten
van Hoek, based on an illustration by Donald Proulx (2007: Fig. 27).
In an earlier publication I suggested that the “Swastika Cross” could perhaps depict a bola (Van
Hoek 2021g), but perhaps it is now time for another interpretation. Although dating petroglyphs
is notoriously difficult, I now would like to tentatively suggest that the “Swastika Cross” in
Majes Style Rock Art may belong to the Nasca Period. It is a fact that Páracas and Nasca traders
visited the area of what is now coastal Arequipa and thus also the Sihuas Valley (Proulx 2007;
Haeberli 2001; 2002). In this respect a possibly unique Nasca ceramic - said to be from the
Ocoña Valley (roughly 110 km to the west of Sihuas) - has a most unusual shape that (when
viewed from above) much resembles the “Swastika Cross” design of Majes Style Rock Art
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(Figure 22). Mind you, Donald Proulx explicitly emphasises that the provenience of the vessel
has not been established and is only based on hearsay (2007: 9).
Yet it is interesting that Proulx also argues that the ceramic (a Nasca double-spout bottle), is
modelled in the form of an octopus, even though - so he added - only four tentacles are depicted
(2007: 9). Whether indeed the “Swastika Cross” petroglyphs depict or symbolise an octopus is
undecided, but it is a fact that the octopus was once important to several ancient Andean
peoples. Importantly, in the iconographies of the coastal Cupisnique and Moche Cultures of
Northern Peru, octopuses sometimes have four (or six) arms only. For those reasons, the
Quilcapampa petroglyphs of the “Swastika Cross” could symbolise an octopus as well. If indeed
the two “Swastika Cross” petroglyphs at Quilcapampa symbolise octopuses, they prove to
represent extremely rare examples in the rock art of coastal Peru. One further (possible!)
example has been recorded by me on Boulder PAL-178 at Palamenco in Northern Peru (Van
Hoek 2021d: Fig. 19A) and another possible example has been noticed by me on Boulder MIS-
015 at Miculla, an extensive petroglyph site in the extreme south of Peru (1335 km SE of
Palamenco). However, in both cases the pattern could well represent something else. Finally,
at La Caldera (CAL-025) some petroglyphs depicting a true Swastika have been recorded.
The “Venus Cross”
The simplest version of this symbol (there are very complex examples, for instance in Morocco
and New Caledonia) comprises an equal-armed cross, which is closely outlined by another
groove, thus forming an outlined cross. Its purported association with the planet Venus is
irrelevant here, as there is no way to prove such a connection, especially as the “Venus Cross”
is found at many sites all over the world (Van Hoek 2018c). The “Venus Cross” is also scarce
in Majes Style Rock Art and yet it is (relatively) overrepresented at Quilcapampa (with at least
six examples) and at the La Caldera - Mollebaya group in Vítor, 44 km SE of Quilcapampa
(altogether 16 examples, which are found at Culebrillas: one example; at Mollebaya Grande: at
least two examples; at Mollebaya Chico: eleven examples and at La Caldera: at least two
examples). Remarkably, west of Quilcapampa the “Venus Cross” occurs only five times and
over a much greater distance: only two examples have been recorded at Alto de Pitis in Majes
(on Panels AP3-133C and AP3-127A); two examples in Ocoña, both recorded at Chillihuay
(one on Panel CHY-F-004) and one in Caravelí (on Boulder RCC-Pe-026C), the last site located
130 km west of Quilcapampa.
At Quilcapampa there are two, possibly three panels that bear the “Venus Cross”. The most
southerly panel(s) is (are) found in a deep, narrow gorge that forms the boundary between
Sectors 3 and 4. A very steep wall of stone in Sector 4 overlooks the gorge to the south and
high up this cliff is an almost inaccessible, SE facing panel with at least five petroglyphs of the
“Venus Cross” (Figure 23B). This panel is of great importance, as several petroglyphs show
(faint) traces of a red substance - most likely paint - and thus they all may have been painted in
in red (and possibly - many? - other petroglyphs at Quilcapampa as well). Because of colour
used and the sheltered and isolated position it is very unlikely that this paint concerns modern
vandalism. In view of the location high up the very steep and rather smooth cliff it is most likely
that the manufacturer reached this “inaccessible” panel from above (using a rope?). It was
possibly first recorded in 1964 and an illustration was published by Hans Dieter Disselhoff
(1971: Abb. 25) (Figure 23A). Just to the right is another panel that might have another (small
and indistinct) petroglyph of a “Venus Cross”.
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Figure 23. A and B: Both at Quilcapampa: Panel at Sector 4; C: Panel 5 at Sector 8 - South.
A: Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on an illustration by Disselhoff (1971: Abb. 25).
B: Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek. C: Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ,
About 800 m to the NNE of the gorge is Panel 5 in Sector 8 - South, which is facing east, across
the Sihuas Valley this time (for location see Figure APP-8). Also this panel was probably
reached from above as it is located just below the modern road. The panel is almost completely
covered with a chaos of much worn petroglyphs, although with some difficulty some
anthropomorphic figures can be discerned. Conversely, more deeply carved is the “Venus
Cross” on the right hand side of the panel (Figure 23C). Interestingly however, this time the
“Venus Cross” is clearly associated with - or rather, physically linked to - another petroglyph,
although it is possible that certain elements of this figure have been added at a later stage. It
now seems that the abstract cross (deliberately?) serves as the head of an anthropomorphic
figure. Although arms cannot be detected, the figure clearly has two legs ending in simple feet.
Its body is filled with irregular squares and rectangles (some with a dot?). Especially this
petroglyph brings me to discuss an important group of petroglyphs at Quilcapampa. It concerns
anthropomorphic petroglyphs, yet with especially the focus on the enigmatic Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph.
Biomorphic Petroglyphs
Like most rock art sites in the Study Area Quilcapampa is characterised by its numerous
biomorphic images. Dominating Quilcapampa are petroglyphs of zoomorphs, mainly
comprising camelids, followed by birds, dogs or foxes and - to a lesser extent - snakes and
felines. Of course Quilcapampa has its fair share of anthropomorphic figures, including the
types that can be expected (for instance small, match-stick figures). However, Quilcapampa is
possibly unique for featuring a special type of figure that I have baptised the Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph in this study.
Anthropomorphic Figures
Quilcapampa has a relatively high number of rather idiosyncratic anthropomorphic figures, of
which the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph is the most noteworthy. Therefore this icon
will be fully discussed here. Some other anthropomorphic figures also deserve more attention,
like the Polished Anthropomorph, the “Carcancha”, the “Trophy Head Carrier”, isolated
“Trophy” Heads, Mummy Bundles, and anthropomorphs with an X-motif on the body. These
images will be discussed in different sections below.
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However, there are also some anthropomorphic figures that are noteworthy, but that cannot be
easily classified. For instance, on upward facing Panel 17 of Section B in Sector 7 (for location
see Figure APP-1) are two outlined (partially drawn?) anthropomorphic figures with square
heads, each with two small circular eyes that seem to have been superimposed by a large, fully
pecked camelid accompanied by three smaller, fully pecked camelids (Figure 24 and inset). The
whole set has incorrectly been interpreted as a bird by Eloy Linares Málaga (2013 - 1981: Fig.
15). In Sector 3 is a large concentration of petroglyphs including two Bilobed Designs and (to
the north of that set) a fully frontally depicted, outlined petroglyph of an anthropomorph that
seems to have four arms (Figure 25). On Panel 7 of Sector 8 - South (for location see Figure
APP-8) is a much worn petroglyph of an anthropomorphic figure with bifurcated appendages
from the top of the head and an X-pattern on its thorax (arrow in Figure 26).
Figure 24. Panel 17 of Section B in Sector 7, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen
Berquist - PIAQ. Inset: Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek. See also Figure APP-10.
Figure 25. Panel at Sector 3, Quilcapampa, showing an anthropomorphic figure with
seemingly four arms. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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Figure 26. Panel 7 of Sector 8 - South. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
The Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph
The Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph belongs to a small but most distinctive group of
anthropomorphic figures that almost certainly are found only at Quilcapampa. Berquist et al.
(2021: 115) describe the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph as follows: “… a specific style
of anthropomorphic figure, with a square mask, rectilinear body, and what often appear to be
feathers protruding from the head.”. Most importantly, in several cases the Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph is hardly recognisable as an anthropomorph because of the
dominating abstract layout and the internal abstract elements. Most of the Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorphs are outlined, but legs and/or arms and digits are fully abraded in
some cases. Several examples have no legs and/or no arms, though.
The Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph is mainly found at Section C of Sector 7 (in a
stretch of about 75 meters), where there are at least six clusters, each with one to up to eight
(possible) examples of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph (for locations see Figure
APP-6). Yet, there are some outliers further south and north. Altogether there are at least 21
petroglyphs of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph, including six more doubtful
examples (and of course there may be more examples).
The heavy concentration at Section C of Sector 7 is remarkable. Probably a special reason
existed to manufacture so many specific images at such a confined spot. Most of the petroglyphs
(possibly) depicting the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph are deeply carved and probably
abraded or polished, possibly intermittently by several people. This may imply that the
Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph was of major importance to the manufacturers.
However, there are also some very superficially executed (possible) examples (try-outs, or just
less deeply executed and/or more weathered examples?).
Cluster 1 in Section C (for locations of those Clusters see Figure APP-6) has six, almost
inaccessible panels with petroglyphs depicting the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph.
Panel C1-P1 (Panel 1 in Cluster 1 of Section 7C) has a deeply engraved example of the
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Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph with a circular rayed head (a large ringed, shallowly
abraded depression) and some very faint petroglyphs at either side (Figure 27). It seems to have
(an) exaggerated hand(s). Important are the three horizontally arranged, parallel lines at its
lower end.
Figure 27. Panel 1 in Cluster 1 of Section 7C. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 28. Panel 2 in Cluster 1 of Section 7C. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Directly above Panel C1-P1 is Panel C1-P2 (Figure 28) with a row of deeply engraved
petroglyphs, two of which depict the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph, both characterised
by three V-shaped appendages from the top of the rectangular heads. Again there are sets of
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horizontally arranged lines at the lower ends. In between is a much smaller figure (a head or an
anthropomorph?) with four parallel lines from the purported head”. It might be related to the
Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph. There are numerous, deeply carved and less deeply
executed petroglyphs on this panel, including a deeply engraved pattern at the far right of the
panel that might represent a Mummy Bundle and - above the panel - a profile bird.
Directly to the south of Panel C1-P2 is Panel C1-P3. Apart from an abstract wavy pattern and
a rather poorly executed quadruped, a large petroglyph of the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph is important for several reasons. First of all, its large rectangular head - filled
with an abstract pattern - has three almost parallel lines from its top. It has two upraised arms
ending in four splayed digits each. Its thorax has three parallel, horizontally arranged lines.
Below the thorax is a large rectangular, concentric box-like element. Importantly, there are no
legs attached to that box-element. Instead something else emerges from the box-element
(arrows in Figure 29A). For that reason this feature deserves more attention.
Figure 29. Panel 3 (and 4) in Cluster 1 of Section 7C. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist.
In line with my own investigations regarding gendered imagery in the Study Area (Van Hoek
2012) the imagery at Quilcapampa is also noted for its absence of unambiguously sexed
biomorphic figures. In this respect Berquist et al. correctly stress that not all
“anthropomorphs” are necessarily male: no obvious indications of gender on any glyph has
been observed thus far.(2021: 107). Yet, there may be some anthropomorphic figures at
Quilcapampa that still may expose more “hidden” or less explicit indications of sex. It concerns
the single “Trophy” Head Carrier and some examples of the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph, one of which may be telling.
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A photo of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph on Panel C1-P3 published in 2018
(Yépez et al. 2018: Fig. 8-centre) does not clearly show some possibly most informative
features, which therefore remained unnoticed. Attached to the box-like element is a small,
bisected element that resembles the vulva of a female. From this purported vulva-element runs
a long, vertically arranged serpentine line. I very tentatively would like to suggest that this
serpentine line might represent or symbolise an emission, possibly a menstrual flow, while the
concentric square might symbolise a womb (see also Van Hoek 2012).
If this is the case, then this petroglyph may represent one of the very few anthropomorphic
images at Quilcapampa that possibly features gendered elements (vulva and - possibly - a
menstrual flow). Remarkably, also zoomorphic petroglyphs at Quilcapampa do not show
genitals. Only one possible copulation scene may have been manufactured on a panel in Sector
3 (indicated with a red arrow in Figure 30), just below a Polished Anthropomorph (green
arrow). Similar copulation scenes have been recorded by me at La Laja (see Figure 77: inset)
and at Toro Muerto in Majes (Van Hoek 2012).
Figure 30. Section of Sector 3, Quilcapampa, showing a possible copulation scene (red arrow),
a Polished Anthropomorph (green arrow) and (very faint) a “Trophy” Head (orange arrow) and
to the far left an anthropomorph with an X-pattern. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Yet, there are a few more petroglyphs of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph that might
be female. First of all, the two examples on Panel C1-P2 in Sector 7 both have an element
between the legs (one horizontally arranged) that again might represent or symbolise a vulva
(indicated with orange arrows in Figure 28). Moreover, the (so far) only unambiguous example
of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph in Sector 8 - South (on Panel 1, which is located
about 123 m north of Cluster 4 in Sector 7) represents a figure with upraised arms ending in
three digits, while it also has the characteristic V-shaped set of appendages from the head.
Again, it has no legs. Instead, a semicircle (the vulva?) is appended at the bottom end from
which - importantly - a double serpentine line emerges, horizontally arranged this time (see
Figure 16). On the same panel many (faint) smaller petroglyphs and a deeply executed
petroglyph that I consider to represent an abstracted “Trophy Head (red arrow), plus a set of
horizontally arranged, parallel lines that are similar to the parallel lines in the Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph. In my opinion its situation directly next to the two most prominent
examples of the Bilobed Design at Quilcapampa and the similar style of engraving might
indicate that the Bilobed Designs and the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph are culturally
related.
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Those two much differing icons possibly reflect the religious expressions of a certain period of
the local Majes culture of the Sihuas Valley (thus not the purported Siguas Culture advocated
by Joerg Haeberli [2001; 2002], which was rejected by me in my 2018 publication [Van Hoek
2018a]).
Finally, also the petroglyph of the “Trophy” Head Carrier on Panel 1 of Section B in Sector 7
has an element that might represent a vulva (see Figure 62), as well as the Carcancha in
Sector 5 (see Figure 49). Are the rather “hidden” and rare expressions of sex and/or gender at
this site (and in general in the Study Area) a matter of taboo? Is perhaps the camouflaged and
abstracted nature of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph also an expression of a local
taboo?
Immediately opposite Panel C1-P3 at Sector 7 is Panel C1-P4 with an abstract pattern that might
be related to the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph (Figure 29B). Only about 30 meter
north of Cluster 1 is a single example of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph (Cluster 2),
again in an “inaccessible” position (Figure 31A and B). Once more it has a V-shaped set of
appendages from the top of the rectangular head, which is filled with an abstract pattern.
Importantly, three horizontally arranged, parallel lines (again) form its bottom end, while its
legs and arms are missing (Figure 31C). The two X-motifs are suggested by Núñez Jiménez
(1986: Fig. 2789) to represent stylised birds, but - although possible - this in my opinion is
doubtful. To its left is a very faint anthropomorphic figure (again without legs, but with
outstretched arms) that may represent a Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph or (because of
the pattern of ribs on the thorax) even aCarcancha” (or perhaps a combination of the two
icons). It seems to hold a linear object in its right hand.
Figure 31. Single petroglyph panel at Cluster 2 of Sector 7. A: Photograph © by PIAQ
(handmade from below); B and C: Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
About 15 m to the north of Cluster 2 and halfway up the escarpment is a panel (Cluster 3) with
up to four (possible) examples of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph (Figure 32).
Petroglyph 2 has a rectangular, segmented body (one segment filled with an X-pattern), faint
V-shaped appendages, no arms but instead two very short legs. Petroglyph 3 seems to have a
set of X-shaped legs and Petroglyph 4 is hard to recognise. More important is Petroglyph 1
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which has a rectangular head with three internal lines and a larger rectangular body containing
an abstract pattern. It has two legs with relatively large feet with digits and even larger arms
(one raised, one outstretched), each with four digits. It is important to note that the broad arms
and hands are more superficially executed and are clearly abraded and/or polished. They may
be later additions. Across a crack to the right is a very faint petroglyph of a possible
Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph, possibly identifiable by the two horizontally arranged,
parallel lines. However, it may also be related to a Mummy Bundle (it is often very hard to
distinguish a Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph from a Mummy Bundle).
Figure 32. Petroglyph panel at Cluster 3 of Sector 7. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
About 30 m further north of Cluster 3 and almost at the top of the escarpment is a complex of
adjacent panels (Cluster 4) with up to seven anthropomorphic figures and a feline petroglyph.
Petroglyph 1 (Figure 33) has a rectangular head filled with a complex inverted V-shaped pattern
and a rather complex set of appendages from the head (including a wing-like group of lines on
either side of the appendages). Importantly, its body seems to be represented by a single, vertical
line flanked on both sides by small abstract motifs, while its bottom is formed (again) by three
horizontally arranged, parallel lines with six short, vertically arranged lines attached. Berquist
et al. regard this image not to have a body: “… a similar object [the head or masked head] is
sometimes found without a body, connected to a single linear incision.” (2021: 115; my
addition), but I prefer to regard the single linear incision as a much reduced and stylised body.
Petroglyph 4 is almost similar to Petroglyph 1. Petroglyphs 2, 3 and 5 are smaller and may be
related to the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph (Petroglyphs 2 and 5 are possibly
identifiable as such by the sets of parallel lines at the bottom). A small panel just below the
main panel has two anthropomorphic figures that - because of the three parallel lines at their
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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bottom - could also represent Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorphs. Both figures seem to
have their arms raised (Figure 33 - inset). Immediately to the south of this set is a very large
panel with extremely faint petroglyphs (including a try-out to create a Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph?).
Figure 33. Petroglyph panel at Cluster 4 of Sector 7. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
It is important to note that Clusters 5 and 6 are located between Clusters 1 and 3 and above
Cluster 2. If Clusters 5 and 6 would have been located far away from Section C of Sector 7, the
petroglyphs of those two clusters probably would not have been recognised as examples of the
Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph. However, based on the characteristics of the other
examples and especially on Petroglyph 1 of Cluster 4, I argue that these examples represent
highly reduced and more abstracted examples of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph.
Figure 34. Petroglyph panels at Clusters 5 (A and B) and 6 (C) of Sector 7 (for locations see
Figure APP-6). Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Cluster 5 is a small, -shaped alcove (Figure 34A). The left-hand panel has some anthropic,
rectangular depressions and a figure with a rectangular head filled with an abstract pattern, a
vertical single line in my opinion representing the body and (again!) three horizontally arranged
parallel lines at the bottom. It has no arms, or legs. The petroglyph on the right-hand panel is
almost identical (notice the curvilinear pattern [showing modular width] on the corner of this
panel, which is marked with an arrow in Figure 34B).
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The example on the panel of Cluster 6 (only a short distance to the NW) is even more simple,
but still displays the basic elements: (bisected) head, vertical single line, (two) parallel lines at
the bottom (Figure 34C). These examples might represent unfinished figures, but I would like
to suggest that these seemingly abstract figures have been reduced on purpose to express their
essence; at least the essence for the ancient people of the Sihuas Valley. This process of a
breakdown from highly complex figures to isolated (and often simpler) figures or even elements
thereof has also been recorded by me with Formative Period petroglyphs of the MSC-Style in
coastal Peru (Van Hoek 2011b).
At Section B of Sector 7 are no clearly recognisable examples of the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph. However, on Boulder B19 (B19 in Figures APP-1 and 35) may be one or two
extremely faint and thus doubtful examples (indicated by green arrows in Figure 35). One
example seems to have an X-mark on its body. This boulder is located rather high up the
escarpment, about 40 m SSE of Cluster 1 in Section C of Sector 7.
Figure 35. Petroglyph panels at Sector 7B (for locations see Figure APP-1). Photograph © by
Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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At Section A of Sector 7 (roughly 70 m SSE of Cluster 1 in Section C - Sector 7) is a cluster of
panels comprising several (possibly related) petroglyphs of the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph. This cluster is found at the foot of the escarpment, only a couple of metres
above the path. In Figure APP-1 the distance between the cluster in Section A (Panels 2 and 4),
Panel 19 in Section B and the first cluster in Section C (Panels 8 and 9) is evident. On Panel 2
of Section A (Figure 36) are two examples. The larger (A) may be an unfinished example, hard
to recognise because of the chaos of grooves on the panel (Núñez Jiménez 1986: Fig. 2774).
The smaller, even more reduced example (B) may be compared with the “simple” examples in
Section C - Clusters 4, 5 and 6 (respectively Figures 33 and 34).
Figure 36. Panel 2 at Sector 7A (for location see Figure APP-1). Photograph © by Stephen
Berquist - PIAQ.
On the almost vertical east facing surface of Panel 4 in Section A are two very faint possible
examples (not illustrated), while on its almost vertical and south facing panel are two possibly
related, deeply engraved examples, one in an apparent seating position (Figure 37). On an
adjacent, vertical panel (Panel 1) are several deeply engraved zoomorphs (see Figure 4) and
also two (isolated) sets of three horizontally arranged, parallel lines. Those parallel lines may
as well be related, because such sets often form the base of the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph. If so, those parallel lines might offer evidence for a breakdown of the
Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph.
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Figure 37. Panel 4 at Sector 7A (for location see Figure APP-1). Photograph © by PIAQ.
The Polished Anthropomorph
In one of the previous paragraphs we have seen that the arms of at least one Quilcapampa
Abstract Anthropomorph were clearly abraded and/or polished (see Figure 32). Also several
zoomorphic petroglyphs at Quilcapampa have been completely abraded and/or polished, like
the two camelids in Sector 3 (see blue arrow Figure 20). Interestingly, the camelids have a line
from the neck (a leash?) that ends in a small, outlined circle, possibly representing a tethering
stone or a loop to secure the animals (a Wari custom?; see inset in Figure 38). There are several
more quadrupeds at Quilcapampa that clearly are fully abraded and/or polished, while some are
on leash, for instance on Panel 13 of Section B (see Figure 14), on Panel 5 in Section C (see
Figure 41) both in Sector 7, and on Panel 4 in Sector 8 - South (for location see Figure APP-8).
At Toro Muerto there is at least one (outlined and decorated) quadruped (most likely a camelid)
that has a line (a leash?) attached to a small “stick”. It is found on Boulder TM-Nn-006 together
with a petroglyph of a small Mummy Bundle with a grinning mouth. Interestingly, it has a
serpentine groove from the top of its head, as if representing the “hanging” cord of a “Trophy”
Head as well (Figure 38). Finally, at Cerro Jaguay (a rock art site 26 km due south of the city
of Arequipa and thus outside the Study Area) is a petroglyph of a quadruped with a leash
attached to what seems to be a fence (Valle Alvarez and Gamboa Tomimaya 2018: Fig. 36).
It is interesting to note that at Quilcapampa also a (very) small number of anthropomorphic
petroglyphs are almost completely polished. They all concern fully frontally depicted figures
with often an elongated, fully polished body that always is without any decoration (this in sharp
contrast with the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph). The (polished) arms are often in a
drooping position and arms and/or legs often end in very distinctly executed digits. Their head
may be outlined, often featuring facial features.
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Figure 38. Petroglyphs on Boulder TM-Nn-006 at Toro Muerto, Majes Valley. Photograph ©
by Maarten van Hoek. Inset: Drawing of a Wari (?) textile showing “a camelid with leash and
ring”? Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek (provenance and author unknown to me).
Especially in Sector 3 is a relatively large concentration of polished petroglyphs, including the
two polished camelids on leash (see Figure 20 and inset C) and four examples of the Polished
Anthropomorph. One panel has two Polished Anthropomorphs (arrows in Figure 39). The one
on the right is rather large and has feet with very distinct digits. The feet are positioned in an
unusual diagonal position, both pointing to the north. The one on the left is hardly visible. I
could only positively identify the figure by the distinct digits of its right foot. A very short
distance further north is a panel with a chaos of petroglyphs among which a small example of
a Polished Anthropomorph can be discerned. An estimated 20 meters further north and
immediately below the natural “path” that runs across the area is another petroglyph of the
Polished Anthropomorph. It has both its arms raised (ending in distinct digits) and an outlined
head with facial features. It legs are simple and digit-less.
Figure 39. Part of Sector 3, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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About 223 m further south, in an area of Sector 2 with numerous petroglyphs (including two
“Trophy” Heads), there is another petroglyph of the Polished Anthropomorph. It again has both
arms raised (both ending in very distinct digits). It also has a more complex, outlined head. The
head seems to be bisected (a nose?) and it has two cupules for eyes, two ears and possibly some
short appendages from the head (green arrow in Figure 30).
Still further south, in Sector 1, is a long and thin example of a Polished Anthropomorph (too
faint to be illustrated here). It has both arms raised ending in rather distinct digits, whereas the
short legs are splayed. It has a small outlined head (facial features could not be identified with
certainty). Immediately to the south of this petroglyph are some abstract motifs reminiscent of
the bodies of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph. Downslope is a frontally depicted bird
with a polished body, as well as some polished camelids.
At the very top of Sector 5 (roughly 375 m north of the Cluster 3 group in Sector 3), only a few
meters north of the Carcanchapetroglyph (see Figure 49) and in a heavily disturbed and
damaged area is a panel with a framed row of four circular motifs (interpreted [incorrectly?] by
Núñez Jiménez as a “Cabeza de ave- the “head of a bird” [1986: Fig. 2817]; he did not draw
the other images), a small anthropomorph (a “Feathered Homunculus”?) and a rather large
example of the Polished Anthropomorph (arrows in Figure 40). Again it has drooping arms
ending in deeply executed digits. The legs are thin however and end in rather small, featureless
feet. The outlined head shows facial markings. To the south (left) is a panel with a small outlined
anthropomorph.
Figure 40. Part of Sector 5, Quilcapampa. Photographs © by PIAQ and Stephen Berquist -
PIAQ. See middle frame in Figure 48 for location.
Finally, at least one unambiguous example of the Polished Anthropomorph has also been
recorded at an (as yet undisclosed) rock art site on the east bank of the Sihuas Valley. This
figure is fully polished and has large drooping arms ending in three digits. It has a large,
rectangular, polished head. To its left (north) is a large phytomorphic design. To its right (south)
is a partially polished anthropomorphic figure, which may represent a mixture of the Polished
Anthropomorph and the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph. Further to the south on the
panel is an anthropomorph with an X-motif on its thorax/body. Therefore the imagery of this
site/panel can definitely be linked to Quilcapampa. There are more sites on the east bank of the
Sihuas Valley (especially north of Quilcapampa) with typical MSRA imagery.
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Death-Related Petroglyphs
It is a fact that a specific part of the MRAS petroglyphs is unambiguously death-related.
However, it is perhaps better to state that a significant portion of the rock art images in the
larger Study Area expresses the important Andean Life-Death Duality. As far as I know there
is no rock art region in the Andes that has so many images of “Trophy” Heads, Carcanchas
and Mummy Bundles. To the north and NE of our Study Area such images are (almost?)
completely absent, while to the NW - in Páracas-Nasca Territory - several petroglyphs of
mainly “Trophy” Head Carriers and some “Trophy” Heads have been recorded, but no
unambiguous images of Carcanchas” (Van Hoek 2013: 106) nor Mummy Bundles. Moreover,
earlier I demonstrated that - in absolute numbers - “Trophy” Heads are more abundant in the
MRAS than in the rock art of the Páracas-Nasca Territory (Van Hoek 2010a) and that has not
changed in the years after my publication. The opposite is the case, as - since 2010 - several
more petroglyphs of Trophy Heads - and also Carcanchasand Mummy Bundles - have
been recorded in the larger Study Area, also at Quilcapampa. These important life-death related
petroglyphs, involving “Trophy” Heads, Carcanchas”, Mummy Bundles and - perhaps
surprisingly - specific birds, will now be discussed in more detail.
Mummy Bundles
Although it is by no means certain, a small number of petroglyphs in the MRAS seem to depict
Mummy Bundles. They are characterised by the often rectangular or square shape of the
purported wrapped body, while the top often features an element with apparently facial features
that could represent the “false head”. In burials of coastal southern Peru a “false head” is often
added to real Mummy Bundles to give the rather amorphous bundle a more human appearance.
Also important is the property that petroglyphs of Mummy Bundles do not have legs and arms
and that the bundle often shows a complex, abstract pattern (depicting textiles and ropes?).
It may also be important to note that petroglyphs of Mummy Bundles are - so far - only recorded
in the Majes Valley (and moreover only at Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis) and in the Sihuas
Valley (so far only at Quilcapampa). At Quilcapampa two sets of altogether four examples have
been illustrated by Núñez Jiménez who tentatively labelled them ¿Ídolos antropomorfos?
(1986: Figs 2781 and 2786). Two of those could be re-traced (in Sector 7), although it proved
that Núñez Jiménez published a horizontally flipped drawing of the set (Figure 41; Panel 7 -
Orange inset 7; for location see C7 in Figure APP-1). It is remarkable that Núñez Jiménez was
able to notice the larger Mummy Bundle, which is now extremely faint.
There are several rectangular or square petroglyphs at Quilcapampa that just possibly could
represent a Mummy Bundle, but some are doubtful, especially the examples with a number of
V-shaped appendages from the top (of the head?). Some other examples are more likely to
depict a Mummy Bundle, though. Just above the “Confronting Birds” Panel (11B) in Sector 8
- South is Panel 11D (for location see Figures APP-8 and APP-9) with an obvious Mummy
Bundle. It has a rectangular body filled with abstract designs. From the bottom-line emerge six
short parallel lines. It is topped by a rather large rectangular head faintly showing a linear mouth
and two small, roughly pecked eyes (Figure 42A). Nearby (on Panel 6, also in Sector 8 - South)
is another petroglyph of a Mummy Bundle. It has a complex pattern in its square bundle and a
small outlined head (without facials) as its “false head” (Figure 43), while on Panels 9 (Figure
43) and 12 some petroglyphs also may depict Mummy Bundles.
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Figure 41. Part of Sector 7, Quilcapampa, showing distinct petroglyphs (white arrows) and
very faint images (orange arrows). Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Inset 5:
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on photographs by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Inset 7:
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on the drawing by Núñez Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2781).
Figure 42. A: Mummy Bundle on Panel 11D at Sector 8, Quilcapampa. B: Locations of Panels
11D and 11B on Panel 11 (for location see Figures APP-8 and APP-9). C: Confronting birds
on Panel 11 B. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Possibly the best, unambiguous - and also northernmost - example of a Mummy Bundle at
Quilcapampa is found in Sector 8, roughly 30 meters north of the “Confronting Birds” Panel.
It has a deeply carved, square body filled with a regular abstract pattern. It is topped by a small,
square “false” head with simple, yet deeply executed mouth and eyes (Figure 44; notice the
polished petroglyphs of the nearby quadrupeds). The southernmost example of a Mummy
Bundle is found in Sector 1 (Figure 45), approximately 1500 m south of the “best” example.
It is interesting to note - possibly in analogy with a zoomorphic petroglyph at Alto de Pitis,
which may have an internal Mummy Bundle (Van Hoek 2012: Fig. 300) - that a “strange”
anthropomorphic figure on a large panel at the north end of Sector 4 possibly has an internal
Mummy Bundle as well. Unfortunately, the figure has incorrectly been illustrated by Núñez
Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2816; see Figure 19 - inset) who draws a small (“false”?) head at the bottom
end of the image, while also the arms and the internal lines of the figure are incorrectly drawn.
Because of the “head” at the bottom I (incorrectly) interpreted the figure as a birthing scene
(Van Hoek 2012: 112; Fig. 248). However, there is no head and thus it represents a rather unique
headless (beheaded?) figure (see Figure 19). Finally, the lines within the body might indicate a
Mummy Bundle.
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Figure 43. Panels 9 and 6 at Sector 8 -South, Quilcapampa (for locations see Figure APP-8).
Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 44. Panels at Sector 8, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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Figure 45. Panel at Sector 1, Quilcapampa. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Carcanchas
A very important life-death related icon in MSRA is the clearly anthropomorphic icon that I
have baptised the “Carcancha (Van Hoek 2013a; 2012; 2018a; 2019; 2020a). Like the Andean
Trophy” Head, this icon is claimed by me to simultaneously symbolise life and death; duality
being an essential part of the Andean worldview. Originally the term “Carcancha referred to
a wreck (death) of a vehicle that still functions (life). As an analogy to the car, the term
Carcancha has been introduced by Frederico Kauffmann Doig (1981, 2010) to refer to
depictions of the “Living Death” (un cadáver animado) in Pre-Columbian iconography.
For that reason Carcanchas in rock art definitely unite two opposed concepts. On one hand
the Carcancha graphically depicts (and thus clearly symbolises) the concept of death. The
skeletal ribs, the grinning mouth and the skeletal joints are elements that in a most idiosyncratic
way indicate death. On the other hand, the Carcancha has frequently been depicted in a most
active position, especially in a saluting or waving” posture. Even more important is that several
Carcanchas have been represented with a most prominently depicted specific element
expressing the concept of “life”: the sexual organs. Many of the “Carcanchas explicitly show
male sex (although one example at Toro Muerto may show female sex). Moreover, often one
of the hands is placed over the abdomen area or even the genital area; in itself a most unique
position in Andean rock art. Importantly, both areas, abdomen and the genital area, are related
to human reproduction (birth and offspring), which even more emphasises the death-life duality.
The great majority of the Carcancha petroglyphs so far recorded in the Desert Andes is found
in Arequipa, or rather in the MRAS. Also in the Sihuas Valley several petroglyphs of the
Carcancha have been recorded. At least two examples have been recorded by me at Quebrada
de la Tuna (Van Hoek 2013a: 109; Figs 96 and 97). One Carcancha” (on Panel TUN-001)
was confusingly (and incorrectly) labelled “Espantapájaros” (scarecrow) and simultaneously
described as un venado(a deer) by Eloy Linares Málaga (2013 - 1981: 770; Fig. 12). A
possible example was recorded “at Socor by Linares Málaga (2004: 122), but it is uncertain if
his drawing is correct and if the site-name is correct.
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A few more examples have now been recorded at Quilcapampa. In 2009 French archaeologist
Jean Guffroy published a photo (2009: Fig. 544) of a petroglyph in which I recognised a
Carcancha (Van Hoek 2013a: Fig. 95). After that the Proyecto de Investigación
Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua (PIAQ) claimed to have recorded altogether five
petroglyphs of the Carcanchaat Quilcapampa (Berquist et al. 2021: Fig. 3.11). These five
Carcanchas probably also include the example photographed by Jean Guffroy, which is
found at a very difficult to reach position high upon a much fragmented cliff at the very north
end of Sector 3 (red arrows in Figure 46 and orange inset). On another nearby panel is a second
example (green arrows in Figure 46), while further down is a third petroglyph of an
anthropomorph (yellow frame in Figure 46).
Figure 46. Panels at Sector 3. Photographs © by Maarten van Hoek and Stephen Berquist -
PIAQ. Framed inset © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Orange inset: drawing © by Maarten van
Hoek, based on photographs by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ and Jean Guffroy (2009: Fig. 544).
Figure 47. Panel at Sector 4, Quilcapampa. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on the photograph by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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Only 88 m to the NNE - in Sector 4 - is a small panel with the petroglyph of a rather simple
Carcancha” (Figure 47). Very near the upper edge of Sector 5 (140 m north of Sector 4) and
just south of a Polished Anthropomorph (Figure 48) is a faintly recognisable petroglyph of a
Carcanchawith an unusual outlined arc hovering over its head (Figure 49; my rough sketch
is possibly incomplete and/or incorrect). Immediately to its north (right) is a rectangular
petroglyph of what might be a Mummy Bundle (white arrow in Figure 49). Only about 38 m to
the north (right-frame in Figure 48) is an interesting petroglyph of a “Trophy” Head, still to be
discussed (see Figure 60), while about 26 m south is a set of two simple “Trophy” Heads, also
to be discussed further on (see Figure 58).
Figure 48. Panels at Sector 5. Left frame: The Carcancha” of Figure 49; Middle frame: The
Polished Anthropomorph of Figure 40; Right frame: the “Trophy” Head(s) of Figure 60.
Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 49. Panel at Sector 5. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Drawing © by
Maarten van Hoek (inaccurate!), based on the photograph by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Near the north end of Sector 5 is a small anthropomorphic petroglyph that could represent a
Carcancha” (Figure 50). However, its one-line “ribs” (?) are more horizontally arranged. On
the top of Sector 6 is a group of petroglyphs, two of which are anthropomorphic. The left-hand
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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example might represent a “Carcancha”. To its left is a panel with three birds (Figure 51). In
Sector 7 is an extremely faint petroglyph of what once might have been a Carcancha(see
Figure 41).
Figure 50. Panel at Sector 5. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 51. Panels at Sector 6. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
At least two similar petroglyphs - found on two boulders located close together in Sector 8 -
North (Figures 52A and B) - might represent the Carcancha icon as well. One example
(Figure 52C) appears on a very large boulder with many panels, some with petroglyphs
(Boulder 10 in Figure APP-4). On its upper surface is a collection of faint petroglyphs and one
distinct anthropomorphic figure with both arms raised and splayed legs. It has seven parallel,
more or less horizontally arranged lines covering the body. These lines might represent or
Maarten van Hoek - 2021 Quilcapampa
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symbolise ribs. Just below its legs is another, much fainter petroglyph that might represent a
similar example. Only a very short distance to the north is a much smaller block (Boulder 11 in
Figure APP-4) with another, similar, yet larger anthropomorphic figure with at least one arm
drooping (Figure 52D). This time the figure has four “ribs” that are more or less diagonally
arranged; the “ribs” (?) being crossed by a long vertical line (the sternum?).
Figure 52. Panels at Sector 8 - North. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 53. Panels at Sector 8 - North, showing four bird petroglyphs on one panel (B).
Photographs A and C: © by Maarten van Hoek, and B: by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
It may be important that on Boulder 10 in Sector 8 - North and on at least two adjacent blocks
are several petroglyphs of birds (blue arrows in Figure 52A), while in the same section of Sector
8 - North strikingly many images of birds have been recorded (Figures 53 and 52). This
localised occurrence of (possible) Carcanchasand birds may not be accidental. There may
be indications that Carcanchas and birds are connected in the worldview of the ancient
peoples of this part of Arequipa. There are subtle (but unconfirmed) indications that images of
birds (especially condors) in Andean iconography also may have a possible connection with
death, or at least with the upper realm of the spirits, deities and ancestors. For instance, for
ancient Andean peoples the condor was a special messenger. Andean shamans never spoke to
the gods directly, they did so often through the condor that raised their messages and prayers.
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To further explain the Carcancha-Bird connection we have to travel to the rock art site of
Cíceras in the Majes drainage, 43 km NW of Sector 8 at Quilcapampa. At this remote site
(crossed by an ancient path) are at least three petroglyphs of birds that I have baptised the
Cíceras “Carcancha-Bird” (Van Hoek 2021e).
All three Carcancha-Bird” petroglyphs at Cíceras concern fully frontally depicted birds
(except for the head, which is - almost invariably - turned sidewards). One panel has at least
two such bird petroglyphs. The bird petroglyph on the left does not seem to have legs and claws,
but its body is decorated with seven dots and two V-shaped elements (Van Hoek 2021e: Fig.
5). The example to the right has legs and claws and more complex wings. It also has dots and
V-shaped elements on its body. Especially those V-shaped elements on the thorax (ribs?)
reminded me of the group of anthropomorphic images that I have labelled Skeleton-
Anthropomorphs, or “Carcanchas”, which have been fully discussed by me earlier (Van Hoek
2013a, 2018a, 2020a; see also Jennings, Van Hoek, et al. 2019: 17).
A bird image on another panel at Cíceras seems to confirm the Carcancha-Bird connection
even more. It concerns a large panel with four fully laterally depicted bird petroglyphs (and
other images). Of special importance is a large, centrally placed bird petroglyph that is - except
for the head - fully frontally depicted (Van Hoek 2021e: Fig. 6). It has two telling features.
Firstly, its rectangular thorax has a very distinct rib-cage pattern comprising a vertical line that
crosses five V-elements, thus forming the very convincing skeleton pattern of a “Carcancha”.
Secondly, it seems to have aberrant legs and claws. Its legs more resemble anthropomorphic
legs with open ovals that may well represent the skeletal knee-joints often seen at
Carcanchas”. Therefore I tentatively would like to suggest that those three frontally depicted
bird petroglyphs are in some way related to the “Carcancha”. But in which way?
In my opinion the three “Carcancha-Bird” petroglyphs at Cíceras have a specific function that
may be analogous to the spiritual relationship between “Carcanchas” and the Apus (the Sacred
Mountains - the volcanoes of the area) in general. This suggestion needs further explanation.
The ancient peoples of the area believed that (the souls of) the deceased would soar invisibly to
the top of the Apus in order to join their ancestors. Those invisible flights may well have been
graphically expressed - or rather, materialised - by the numerous bird petroglyphs in Majes
Style Rock Art. But there are some more - possibly more convincing - clues. At Alto de Pitis
in the Majes Valley there is even a unique petroglyph of a Trophy” Head - another important
Andean life-death symbol - which was later intentionally changed into a bird image (Van Hoek
2018d: Fig. 14). This “bird” thus seems to symbolically convey the “Trophy” Head through the
skies (towards Apu Coropuna, which it faces).
Another petroglyph - at Toro Muerto - shows a “Trophy” Head of which the “hanging cord is
attached to a small bird petroglyph (see Figure 71). Moreover, at Toro Muerto there are also
several petroglyphs of birds that carry a small “Trophy” Head hanging from their beak (Van
Hoek 2010a: Figs 23 to 26). I would like to suggest that possibly most (if not all) bird images
in the Majes Valley (and elsewhere in the Study Area) may as well symbolise their supernatural
flight to Apu Coropuna (and - of course - to other Apus), especially when they are directly
associated with Trophy” Heads. Do petroglyphs depicting Trophy” Heads (in this specific
area) perhaps symbolise the souls of the deceased, rather than pointing to only warfare or
conflict? I will return to this suggestion further on.
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At the rock art site of Cíceras there are - as far as I know - no petroglyphs of anthropomorphic
Carcanchas”. Therefore, it is now important to reconsider the location of the rock art site of
Cíceras. The site - at an altitude of 1830 m asl - has extensive views to the south, but the views
to the north (and thus to Apu Coropuna) are completely blocked by a 80 to 100 meters high
ridge and thus a physical connection between Cíceras and Apu Coropuna is impossible. To
overcome this “problem” ancient people may have decided not to manufacture
anthropomorphic “Carcanchas”, since “Carcanchascould not fly (there may, however, exist
one exception; at Alto de Pitis, which will be discussed further on). Instead they manufactured
(at least three) “Carcancha-Bird” petroglyphs that could symbolically fly across the high ridge
and on to Apu Coropuna.
There are at least two other sites in the Study Area where a frontally depicted bird petroglyph
shows a (possible) rib cage. One example is found at the remote site of Quebrada de Manga 1
in the Manga drainage (70 km west of Quilcapampa). It was recorded (at 16° 9'57.71"S and
72°43'0.51"W and at 1454 m asl) by Kurt Rademaker and David Reid during their
archaeological survey in 2007 (not published). It concerns a small petroglyph on the upper panel
of a very large decorated boulder (Van Hoek 2013a: Fig. 44). Importantly, on the larger panel
further down is a larger petroglyph of a frontally depicted bird that might be associated with the
petroglyph of a somewhat doubtful “Trophy” Head petroglyph just below the bird.
Importantly, also at the rock art site of Culebrillas (located 44 km SE of Sector 8 at
Quilcapampa) there is a rather convincing parallel. At this mysterious and eerie site there are
also several bird petroglyphs (to some of which I will return later on). On Panel CUL-009 is a
group of five small bird petroglyphs, while higher up the same panel is a large “Carcancha
petroglyph (Van Hoek 2016b: Fig. 21). Just to the left of this “Carcancha” is a much larger bird
image with a rectangular body that contains up to eight, slightly V-shaped grooves that may
form a rib cage. It may as well be a “Carcancha-Bird” petroglyph.
It may be important that the Carcancha-Bird” petroglyph at Culebrillas is located in a deep
and very narrow cleft in the landscape and when standing at the bottom of this gorge, it is
impossible to see the Apus of Chachani and Misti, two volcanoes to the NE of the site, while
on the pampa above the two Apus are clearly visible (Van Hoek 2013a: Fig. 149). Perhaps also
this Carcancha-Bird” (and possibly all the other birds at this site) was supposed to convey the
deceased out of the narrow cleft and onwards to one of those two important Apus. Of course
these suggestions are highly speculative, as there is no informed knowledge available that
would confirm my hypothesis. However, the situation at Cíceras, Alto de Pitis and Culebrillas
(and at many other rock art sites in the Majes Rock Art Style area) convinces me again that - in
general - there is a profound relationship between the rock art in the Study Area and the string
of Sacred Mountains (all volcanoes) “just” to the north of the rock art. This concept also
includes Quilcapampa, which may be related to the volcano Apu Ampato, exactly 51 km to the
NW of Panel 3 in Sector 8 - North, which bears a telling “Trophy” Head - Bird combination.
But again, Apu Ampato is not visible from this panel. Perhaps for that reason the ancient
manufacturer combined a “Trophy” Head petroglyph with the image of a bird in full flight (with
outspread wings). Therefore, it is also worthwhile to also consider the bird imagery of the
MRAS and thus of Quilcapampa as well.
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Bird Petroglyphs
The Majes Style Rock Art corpus is surprisingly rich in bird imagery. Ignoring some deviant
images of birds (see for instance Núñez Jiménez 1986: Fig. 2792; located at the bottom of
Sector 5), three general types may be distinguished: the - in my opinion - oldest type of the
Two-Digit-Claw Bird (always depicted fully laterally); the Three-Digit-Claw Bird (which may
occasionally have more than three digits) and the “Rectangular Bird” (Van Hoek 2018a). In
general birds may have completely laterally been depicted on the rock surfaces or “fully”
frontally (though always with a laterally depicted head.
The Two-Digit-Claw Bird
It is surprising that - as far as I can tell - the probably oldest type of bird does not occur at
Quilcapampa (or at any other rock art site in the Sihuas Valley). It concerns the Two-Digit-
Claw Bird. Why is this absence so surprising? It is because the Two-Digit-Claw Bird appears
on the fragment of cane that Joerg Haeberli found at the La Chimba cemetery in the Sihuas
Valley (Haeberli 2001: Fig. 1; Van Hoek 2018: Fig. 68; see Figure 2 for location). This
fragmented cane (a surface find) is decorated with profile birds and simple abstract figures
(mainly groups of short, parallel lines and possible solar-motifs). Importantly, the lowermost
section features images of profile birds. It is even more important that all bird depictions on the
cane are of the Two-Digit-Claw type (one of them sitting on a pole, a configuration only
occurring in the rock art of Toro Muerto).
Significantly, all images on this Sihuas Cane (and on two similar canes of uncertain
provenance; see Van Hoek 2018a: 69 to 77) are definitely of the Majes Rock Art Style; there
are no foreign elements depicted on the canes. This fact and several other facts convinced me
that there never existed an individual “Siguas Culture”, as suggested by Haeberli (2001; 2002).
I prefer to refer to the cultural and archaeological remains of the Sihuas Valley as belonging to
the Majes Culture, after the cradle of this culture that originated in the Central Majes Valley
(Van Hoek 2018a). This issue will be further elaborated further on in this study.
In view of this study, the most important type of bird on the Sihuas Canes is a specific, fully
laterally depicted ‘falcon-like’ bird. This type of bird usually has one eye only with often several
lines running upwards from the eye and a feature that I have labelled in this study as the ‘lower
eye-lid’. This element has - so far - not been recorded in bird petroglyphs in the rock art of the
Study Area. Sometimes a ‘tear’ groove or a line of dots are drawn from the eye and in several
cases multiple lines emerge from the eye, like rays (also present in MSRA petroglyphs). The
body is often lavishly decorated with alternating groove-areas and infill-areas and/or dots. The
head and the back usually form one straight line, but this is not always the case. The most
decisive element however is the two-digit-claw. Except for one bird on one of the ‘Sihuas’
Canes (which has no claws), those claws are always represented by two opposite, curved
‘digits’. Thus the claw is always open, as if in a grasping position.
Regarding the distribution of the Two-Digit-Claw Bird, it is most important to notice that it
occurs only in the Majes Valley (frequently at Toro Muerto and more sporadically at Alto de
Pitis). However, it is - surprisingly - absent in the rock art of Quilcapampa, as well as at any
other rock art site in the Sihuas Valley or (as far as I know) in any other valley of the Study
Area for that matter. This extremely limited distribution of this type of bird (and the bird-pole
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combination and the bird-mountain combination) is remarkable and can be compared with the
similarly exceptional distribution of other icons on the Sihuas Canes. Notably, the important
Majes “Dancer icon and the “Rectangular Bird” (a possible indication of Wari influence; not
found on the “Sihuas” Canes) are absent at Quilcapampa.
The Quilcapampa Birds
Having briefly discussed the two absent types of bird petroglyphs at Quilcapampa, it is now
useful to consider the types of birds that are represented at Quilcapampa. First of all, the bird
petroglyphs at Quilcapampa mainly belong to the Three-Digit-Claw type of birds. They may
have been depicted frontally or laterally, but in most cases they have three (sometimes more),
often straight digits. However, even laterally depicted bird petroglyphs with only two digits at
Quilcapampa (see for instance Figure 42C) do not belong to the Two-Digit-Claw Bird type.
What is remarkable and important however, is that most birds at Quilcapampa have been
depicted fully frontally with often impressive, outspread wings, most likely depicting birds in
full flight. The lines representing the wings and/or feathers may be either vertically or
(sometimes) horizontally arranged.
Although definitely not all bird petroglyphs at Quilcapampa are known to me (or to anyone-
else, but most likely there are many more than the 24 examples recorded by Berquist et al.
[2021: Fig. 3.7]), it seems that frontally depicted bird images are overrepresented at Sector 8 at
the far north of the escarpment. This may be significant in view of the possible symbolism of
the bird suggested by me. First of all, Sector 8 - North is the only spot with rather extensive
views north across the widest part of the floodplain of the Sihuas Valley. Although there are -
as far as I could check - no views from Sector 8 - North of Apu Ampato (about 50 km to the
NNE), the bird petroglyphs may still have some connection with Apu Ampato and may
symbolise some sort of supernatural flight to the top of this most important volcano.
Figure 54. Páracas textile. Unknown provenance and unknown author.
We have already mentioned the possibility that also bird images in the rich repertoire of the
Majes Rock Art Style may be life-death related, even when depicted without being associated
with any other nearby image. Especially the Trophy-Bird at Alto de Pitis (Van Hoek 2018d)
and the “Carcancha-Birds at Cíceras (Van Hoek 2021e), Quebrada de Manga and Culebrillas
may prove that birds are life-death related. An analogy may be a Páracas textile, which features
a large anthropomorphic (female?) figure with five “Trophy” Heads, two dangling from
bifurcated appendages. It may be important that a frontally depicted bird appears on the thorax;
symbolising pregnancy? (Figure 54). A ceramic fragment (possibly Wari?) from Pachacamac
near Lima (URL) shows two confronting birds, each carrying a stylised “Trophy” Head.
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Also at Quilcapampa there are at least two panels that each have a bird petroglyph that may be
associated with a life-death related image. In both cases it concerns a “Trophy” Head, an icon
which will be fully discussed in the next section. However, it is important to realise that, even
when a petroglyph of a Trophy” Head is found very near or even attached to a petroglyph, it
is no definite proof of association. In general definite associations between petroglyphs are very
hard to establish, even when two or more items are physically connected. Moreover, we will
never fully understand the true reason why manufacturers produced combinations of images.
Trophy Heads
Although petroglyphs of “Trophy” Heads are found in every major drainage of the Study Area,
it still is the Majes drainage (and especially Toro Muerto) that has the greatest number of those
life-death related images (Van Hoek 2010a). However also in the Sihuas Valley several
examples of the “Trophy” Head have been recorded. At the rock art site of Socor (directly
opposite Quilcapampa) at least two examples have been recorded, one by Hans Dieter
Disselhoff (see Figure 21: inset). Importantly, the team of the Proyecto de Investigación
Arqueológica Quilcapampa La Antigua claimed to have recorded a minimum of eleven
petroglyphs depicting the “Trophy” Head at Quilcapampa (Berquist et al. 2021: Figs 3.6 and
3.11). However, scanning the available photographic record of Quilcapampa yielded at least
thirteen definite “Trophy” Heads, plus five possible examples. These “Trophy” Heads will be
discussed here, starting with the two examples that possibly are intimately associated with a
bird petroglyph (and thus with Apu Ampato?).
On Panel 3 at Sector 8 - North (see Figure APP-4 for location) is a group of petroglyphs, one
of which is an unambiguous “Trophy” Head (Figure 55B). It has a T-shaped “hanging” cord
emerging from the top of its head; five lines probably representing hair; simple facial features
and possibly one ear. The T-shaped element continues (across a crack in the panel) above which
is hovering a frontally depicted bird petroglyph with extended wings. Although the “Trophy”
Head and the bird are not physically connected, this still could be a deliberate combination;
perhaps even an important association, as I will explain further on.
Figure 55. Panels at Sector 8 - North. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
A similar combination is found in Sector 2, 1260 m south of Sector 8 - North. On a panel at the
top of the escarpment is a most complex, frontally depicted bird petroglyph with extended
wings. It has two horizontally arranged, rather short legs. Remarkable are two long, parallel
grooves that run diagonally from its body (a third leg?). Importantly, an unambiguous “Trophy”
Head - with six or seven parallel lines and possible facial features - is attached to the end of this
“third leg” (Figure 56; Inset A). Again, it is uncertain whether this combination is intentional.
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Figure 56. Panels at Sector 2. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Insets A and B:
Cropped from photographs uploaded in 2016 onto the internet by Willy Yépez Álvarez - PIAQ,
and used here with the kind permission of Justin Jennings - PIAQ (2021, pers. comm.).
However, in MSRA “Trophy” Heads are not only associated with birds. Also quadrupeds
sometimes feature “Trophy” Heads intimately connected to their body (see for instance Van
Hoek 2010:a Figs 28 and 29; Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 27). At Quilcapampa I know
of only two combinations of a “Trophy” Head and a quadruped. One example is found only a
few meters south of the “Trophy” Head - Bird combination in Sector 2 (Figure 56; Inset B). It
is however extraordinary that in this case the “Trophy” Head is attached to the very tip of the
tail of the quadruped (probably a camelid); a unique (and as yet an unexplainable) combination.
About 80 m to the south - and still in Sector 2 - are two petroglyphs of a “Trophy” Head
(indicated by orange arrows in Figure 57). The northernmost example is apparently isolated. It
may have a “hanging” cord. The southernmost “Trophy” Head (with a “hanging” cord; five
lines representing “hair” and possible facial features and ears) is found just below an
anthropomorphic petroglyph with raised arms and distinct, splayed digits. However, it is most
uncertain if there is any association between the two images.
Regarding the distribution of “Trophy” Heads at Quilcapampa Berquist et al. (2021: 115)
correctly established that “Clusters to the north are more focused on anthropomorphs and
predators, with a slightly higher probability of trophy heads”. Indeed, if we take the gorge
between Sector 4 and 5 as the dividing line between south and north, then the north (with nine
examples and five doubtful ones) has more petroglyphs of “Trophy” Heads than the south,
which has only four examples.
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Figure 57. Panels at Sector 2. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Figure 58. Panels at Sector 5. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Travelling north from Cluster 2, the next collection of “Trophy” Heads is found at the southern
end of Sector 5, just north of the south-north dividing line. Two small, almost identical
examples (with simple facial features and possibly with a “hanging” cord) are found very close
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together on a large, high-up (unfortunately damaged) panel covered with petroglyphs (Figure
58), among which are a Bilobed Design (orange arrow in Figure 18), a deeply carved spiral and
connected satellite rings. Continuing upslope - near the top of the escarpment - there is a large,
snake-like petroglyph that enfolds a petroglyph of a quadruped (most likely a camelid) and a
“Trophy” Head (Figure 59). The “Trophy” Head has six “hair” lines, possibly a “hanging” cord
and an abstract pattern symbolising facial features.
Figure 59. Panel at Sector 5. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
However, this specific combination of this “Trophy” Head and the snake-like images may yet
be accidental, as the snake-like serpentine grooves may have been added later for some
unknown reason. Despite this possibility Berquist et al. (2021: 103; my additions and empahsis)
suggest that the combination represents “a camelid and a trophy head engulfed within [!] the
body of a serpent, suggesting a creature similar to the amaru [snake in Quechua] of Inca
mythology”. They further argue that this combination represents a Petroglyph of [a] serpent
that appears to have swallowed a camelid and a trophy head, suggesting mythical
connotations (Berquist et al. 2021: Fig. 3.9; my addition and emphasis).
In my opinion however, their suggestions are rather premature. First of all, the “Trophy” Head
is not found inside the body, nor is the camelid. Secondly, there may well be two snake-like
petroglyphs (the upper one having two parallel lines; the lower snake three) and from the photos
that I have available it cannot be determined whether the two parts form a unity; that is, whether
indeed one snake has been depicted. It seems that the two groups of lines do not connect at the
left-hand side of the panel, although the two groups of lines are definitely knotted together in a
most unusual way at the right of the panel. Each snake seems to have its own head (which
appears to be tumi-shaped). Finally, also their suggestion that the snake-like image could be
related to the Amaru of Inca Mythology or having mythical connotations is only speculative
and may be premature.
Berquist et al. (2021: 115; my addition and emphases) also remark: We also note that trophy
heads in particular are closely associated with snakes in at least three instances, with one
trophy head located inside [!] a serpent”. Unfortunately they do not illustrate all three
examples, but it is possible that one of those three examples is found in Sector 5 as well, only
63 m north of the purported camelid - “Trophy” Head - “snakescombination. However, I
refute - again - the practice of too easily using the term “association”, because it is an absolute
statement that cannot always be proven. It is only our western mind that too easily interprets
two or more adjacent or connected images as a unity, which may not be the case.
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Figure 60. Panel at Sector 5. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ. Inset: Ceramic pot
stored at the Archaeological Museum at Camaná, Arequipa. Photograph by “Drakoman”
(2006/7) webpage no longer accessible. Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek.
Regarding the snake -“Trophy” Head “association”, Berquist et al. possibly refer to a
“Trophy” Head petroglyph at Sector 5. It is located on a panel just below the top of the
escarpment, about 30 m NNE of a Carcancha” petroglyph (see Figure 48), while 45 m to the
NW is another, smaller petroglyph of a “Carcancha” (see Figure 50). On the panel are possibly
two of the “Trophy” Heads that Berquist et al. may have referred to. One is an unambiguous
example of a “Trophy” Head. It is circular, has facial features, five rather long “hair” lines and
two shorter “hanging” cord lines emerging from the top of the head. Importantly, the horizontal
line that represents the mouth seems to have a row of four or five very short, downward pointing
lines that are suggestive of teeth (Figure 60).
A similar yet more rectangular “Trophy Head with a dented mouth (and a T-shaped
appendage) has been recorded on Boulder TM-Ex-008 (TM-252 ) at Toro Muerto (1 in Figure
APP-12) together with at least two other petroglyphs of “Trophy” Heads (2 and 3 in Figure
APP-12). Importantly, those “dented” mouths could also represent mouths that are pinned shut
by piercing both lips with cactus spines; a characteristic of Nasca “Trophy” Head preparation
(see also Van Hoek 2010a: 33; Figs 42 to 43).
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A set of similar yet painted heads - also with dented mouths - has been recorded on a ceramic
pot stored at the Archaeological Museum at Camaná, Arequipa (Figure 60 - inset). They may
well represent “Trophy” Heads dangling on “hanging” cords attached to a belt. Although the
provenance and age of the ceramic is unknown to me, there might be a connection between
Quilcapampa and the river Majes, which empties its waters at Camaná some 80 km to SW of
Quilcapampa.
The second petroglyph of interest on the panel (the southern part of which has flaked off) may
also depict a “Trophy” Head. It also has two lines from the top of the head (“hanging” cords?),
but only two “hair” lines from the “chin” area. The head is rectangular and seems to have facial
features. Two parallel lines run from its right cheek and seem to form a rectangular, snake-like
addition, the upper line of which seems to continue as a curvilinear line that is almost touching
a small petroglyph of a quadruped (most likely a camelid).
About 325 m further north - in Sector 7 - are more relevant petroglyphs. In Section A is Panel
A1 (see Figure APP-1 for location) with a zoomorph (a fox or a dog?) with a purported
“Trophy” Head in its mouth (see Figure 4C). Although Núñez Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2784; his
drawing should be flipped horizontally) draws some “hair” lines from the chin area (see Figure
4B), the photos taken by PIAQ show that there are in fact no recognisable hair-lines from the
chin area, only possibly a short “goatee”. Moreover, there is also no “hanging” cord. The
head may therefore equally represent a prey (but is admitted in this study as a “Trophy” Head).
Figure 61. Damaged Panel B6 at Sector 7. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
About ten meters further north is Panel B6 with two damaged petroglyphs (Figure 61) that could
be “Trophy” Heads (listed here as “maybe’s”). Just north of Panel B6 is Panel B1 (see Figure
APP-1 for locations) which is most interesting as it features the only anthropomorphic “Trophy”
Head Carrier so far recorded at Quilcapampa (an example at Quebrada de la Tuna, just north of
Quilcapampa, is somewhat doubtful). The example on Panel B1 (almost unrecognisable from
below) is a fully frontally depicted figure with splayed legs, one arm raised and the other in a
drooping position, the arm of which ends in a “Trophy” Head (Figure 62). This figure is
tentatively (and in my opinion prematurely) labelled as a “dancing” figure by Berquist et al.
(2021: Fig. 3.12B). Anthropomorphic “Trophy” Head Carriers have also been recorded at
Illomas in Manga (Jennings, Van Hoek et al, 2019), at Toro Muerto (Van Hoek 2018a) and
Pampa Blanca (Van Hoek 2020a) in Majes and at an undisclosed site in the Caravelí drainage
(Scaffidi et al. 2021: Fig. 2g) (orange inset in Figure 62).
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Figure 62. Panel B1 at Sector 7. Photographs © by PIAQ (from below) and Stephen Berquist
- PIAQ (with a drone). Inset: Petroglyph from the Caravelí Valley. Drawing © by Maarten van
Hoek, based on a photograph in Scaffidi et al. 2021: Fig. 2g).
The ambiguity of several images at Quilcapampa is demonstrated by a petroglyph on the main
Bilobed Design on Panel 1 in Sector 8 - South (for location see Figure APP-8). It is located 253
m NNW of the “Trophy” Head Carrier in Sector 7. The petroglyph is found directly to the right
of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph on this panel (red arrow in Figure 16). It has six
lines from the “chin” area, but also four parallel lines from the top of the purported “head”,
which is filled with an abstract pattern. It is therefore uncertain if indeed a “Trophy” Head has
been intended (as I suggested earlier: Van Hoek 2018a: Fig. 5). Another ambiguous example
of the “Trophy” Head is found on an outcrop stack in Sector 8 - South (Panel 8 in Figure APP-
8), roughly 24 m north of Panel 1. It is an ill-formed, outlined head (?) (without facial features!)
with four parallel lines from the chin area. It seems to have a “hanging” cord from the top of
the head. However, the whole also looks like an ill-formed bird petroglyph (on purpose?).
Roughly 190 m NW of the Bilobed Design
on Panel 1 in Sector 8 - South is the panel
with the possible Bird - “Trophy” Head
combination on Panel 3 of Sector 8 - North
(already discussed). Only a short distance
further north is a large boulder (Panel 13
of Sector 8 - North; see Figure APP-4 for
location) with at least two petroglyphs of
a quadruped (both most likely camelids;
the larger outlined). Above the larger
(outlined) quadruped is a circular motif
that could be a “Trophy” Head. It has faint
facial features and three “hair” lines and
possibly up to three “hanging” cord lines
(Figure 63).
Figure 63. Panel at Sector 8 - North. Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
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PART 2
The Regional Context
This study unambiguously proves that the imagery at Quilcapampa is part of the Majes Rock
Art Style. Especially the petroglyphs of zoomorphs link Quilcapampa with many other sites in
the Study Area. Also at Quilcapampa the standard types of zoomorphs occur: camelids, foxes
or dogs, snakes, birds and felines.
Yet the on-site variation in size and layout is enormous. Although Quilcapampa has numerous
small images, there are many petroglyphs that are larger than standard. Although at some sites
sizes of species vary enormously (like the huge snake on Panel TM-Bc-016B at Toro Muerto),
at Quilcapampa the differences in size are often striking as well, especially regarding camelids.
There are many (mainly match-stick) miniature petroglyphs of quadrupeds, as well as several
very large ones (decorated or not). For instance, the outlined, faintly decorated quadruped (a
camelid? with feline-like tail?) on Panel B5 at Section B of Sector 7 (Figure 64) is enormous;
it is almost life size, contrasting with the much smaller images on nearby Panels B2 and B3
(Figure 64) (see Figure APP-1 for locations).
Figure 64. Panels at Sector 7. Photographs © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ.
Absent Links With Other Sites
Although the rock art of Quilcapampa is undeniably part of the MRAS, there are - as can be
expected - differences between Quilcapampa and the other drainages. In this respect it is
necessary to first discuss the most relevant “Missing Links” when comparing the imagery at
Quilcapampa with the other major rock art sites of the Study Area. In reality this means that
Quilcapampa will be compared mainly with mainly Toro Muerto in the Majes Valley, 46 km to
the west of Quilcapampa (not to the north, as stated by Berquist et al. 2021: 89; see also 96).
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The Majes “Dancer”
Besides the standard images, Toro Muerto is reputed for its very specific array of petroglyphs.
The most characteristic icon at Toro Muerto is the Majes “Dancer”. This is not just a dynamic,
dancing figure, it is an icon with most characteristic properties that are easily recognised.
Although the term “Dancer” seems to imply movement, there are many static images of the
Majes “Dancer” (Figure 65A). Yet, also the static examples are easily classified as Majes
“Dancers” because of their characteristic pose and graphic design. Therefore, I insist that the
prefix “Majes” will be used only for this type of “dancing” figure, because - so far - the Majes
“Dancers” is only found at Toro Muerto (1000+ examples) and Alto de Pitis (100+ examples)
in the Majes Valley.
Figure 65. Petroglyphs characteristic for Toro Muerto. Drawings © by Maarten van Hoek.
However, my statement above is not completely correct. One questionable example of the
Majes “Dancer” is found on Boulder PAJ-005 at Illomas in the Manga drainage, 30 km NW of
Toro Muerto (Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig: 29) and - more importantly - five definite
examples have been recorded by me on Panel TAC-004C at the rock art site of Tacar in the
Vítor Valley, 66 km SE of Toro Muerto and 30 km SE of Quilcapampa, while one example has
been recorded by Rodolfo Talavera Zúñiga “at Huachipa” in Vítor in 2009 (Van Hoek 2013a:
Fig. 54). This is the more surprising because the Majes “Dancer” is not found at any site in the
Sihuas Valley (disregarding one, possibly related petroglyph on Panel 1 in Sector 8: see white
arrow in Figure 16). It thus proves that the Majes “Dancer” definitely travelled east from Toro
Muerto, but - for some unknown reason - skipped the Sihuas Valley.
The Majes “Spitter”
The same goes for the Majes “Spitter”; a fully laterally depicted “zigzag” zoomorph that has a
typical emanation from its mouth (Figure 65B). It is predominantly found in the Majes Valley,
mainly at Toro Muerto (and to a lesser extent at Alto de Pitis), but it has also been recorded
(only once!) in the Manga drainage (faintly visible in Van Hoek 2013a: Fig. 44) and - (not?)
surprisingly - also on Panel TAC-004B at the rock art site of Tacar in the Vítor Valley, where
two Majes “Spitters” are confronting each other (a scene often seen at Toro Muerto). Again,
the Majes “Spitter” is absent in the Sihuas Valley. The petroglyph at Quilcapampa (on Panel 2
at Section C in Sector 7), which Núñez Jiménez compares with Majes “Spitters” (1986: Fig.
2775), definitely is not a true Majes “Spitter”. It is even debateable whether the zoomorph is
emanating anything from the mouth. In conclusion, also the Majes “Spitter” travelled east, but
skipped the Sihuas Valley as well.
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The Majes “Rectangular Bird”
A different story concerns the Majes “Rectangular Bird (Figure 65C), which again mainly is
found at Toro Muerto, to a lesser extent at Alto de Pitis and again only once in the Manga
drainage. This typical laterally depicted, stylised bird - which in my opinion may show (modest)
Wari-influence (Van Hoek 2018a) - has up to now not been recorded in the Sihuas Valley, nor
at any site east of Majes. Importantly, especially the Majes “Rectangular Bird” is sometimes
seen with - usually - a small “Trophy” Head dangling from the beak (Van Hoek 2010a: Figs 24
and 25: Posso Sánchez 2020: Fig. 21; 150). We already noted that also the Two-Digit-Claw
Bird (which is characteristic for Toro Muerto) is absent at Quilcapampa, and most likely in the
whole of the Sihuas Valley as well.
The Majes Zigzag-Stripe
Finally, Toro Muerto is also known for its enormous collection of often very large, mainly
vertically arranged zigzag and serpentine petroglyphs that are often found combined (on
purpose!) with also vertically arranged, linear grooves, labelled Stripes by me (Van Hoek 2003).
The Zigzag-Stripe combination also occurs on some panels at Alto de Pitis. Importantly, the
true Zigzag-Stripe combination has not been recorded at any rock art site in the Sihuas Valley.
However, on Panel 12 in Sector 8 - North at Quilcapampa (see Figure APP-4 for location) is a
serpentine groove next to a vertically arranged, straight groove and a camelid figure (see Figure
6A). This configuration may definitely be compared with some examples at Toro Muerto, but
also with at least two geoglyph configurations further west on the Pampa de Majes (see Figure
6B and C). It is therefore possible that the Zigzag-Stripe combination also travelled east from
the Majes Valley (but did not develop further). This eastwards migration may also be evidenced
by two sets of geoglyphs that reflect the same combination.
One set of comparable geoglyphs concerns the group of geoglyphs at Huacán (see Figure 6C)
(Van Hoek 2021b). Another group of geoglyphs (see Figure 6B) has been recorded by Luis
Villegas, archaeologist of SV-Arqueólogos (Lima, Perú) near the western fringes of the Pampa
de Majes (Geoglyph B in Figure 2; located at 16°13'42.50"S and 72°22'4.20"W and at 1442 m
asl), roughly 5 km east of Cerro Gentilar, a hill which is located on the east bank of the Majes
Valley. These important Gentilar geoglyphs are found 9.3 km NE of Boulder AP3-171 at Alto
de Pitis and 13.1 km east of Boulder TM-Fa-001 at Toro Muerto, 31.7 km west of Sector 8 at
Quilcapampa and 9.1 km SSW of the Huancán Geoglyphs. It may be significant that the
Gentilar geoglyphs are located very near a junction of two important caravan trails across the
Pampa de Majes.
Also on Panel ANA-012 at the rock art site of Ananta in the Caravelí drainage (102 km NW of
Toro Muerto) are two sets of two serpentine grooves combined with a centrally placed stripe.
This isolated group of petroglyphs may indicate that this powerful symbol also travelled west,
but again it did not develop any further (those outliers may represent the individual expressions
of motifs seen at Toro Muerto; not as evidence of large scale cultural diffusion).
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Links With Other Sites
We already noted that the standard array of especially zoomorphic petroglyphs at Quilcapampa
firmly links the Sihuas Valley with all other drainages in the Study Area. Of course there are
differences in layout, but in general the styles and designs are very well comparable. However,
Quilcapampa definitely has its share of images that sets Quilcapampa apart from all other rock
art sites in the Study Area (this especially concerns icons like the Quilcapampa Abstract
Anthropomorph and the Bilobed Design). Yet there are also specific petroglyphs that
unambiguously link Quilcapampa with the other drainages of the Study Area and sometimes
with other rock art regions in the Desert Andes as well.
However, when suggesting an important link between imagery from one site and images from
other sites (especially when located in more distant areas), the purported parallels should both
be sufficiently described, preferably illustrated, or a reference to a published work featuring the
illustration should be provided. For instance, the claim by Berquist et al. (2021: 103; my
additions), who wrote: One figure in particular [which figure from Quilcapampa?] can be
found as far away as the upper Chincha Valley [which figure; from which site: Huancor?]”,
will be unclear to any interested reader (see also Berquist et al. 2021: 115).
In order to briefly resume such possible links, one of those petroglyphs is the “chromosome
petroglyph; an X-shaped design that only appears at Toro Muerto in Majes. The
anthropomorphic “Feathered Homunculus” was claimed by me (2021: 25) to be only found at
Toro Muerto, but this study shows that Quilcapampa has at least one unambiguous example.
The so-called “Venus-Cross” connects Quilcapampa with Alto de Pitis (surprisingly not with
Toro Muerto), Chillihuay and Caravelí in the west, and La Caldera, Mollebaya Chico and
Culebrillas in the east.
Very near the top of Sector 4 in Quilcapampa there are two adjacent panels, each with a
petroglyph of a straight zoomorph (possibly a bicephalic snake?) that has rows of (triangular?)
appendages and two heads. Especially those heads look like the heads of a petroglyph of an
undulating bicephalic snake at La Caldera in Vítor and of the heads of several large petroglyphs,
possibly also depicting bicephalic snakes at Mollebaya Chico, also in Vítor. Unfortunately the
PIAQ photos of the Quilcapampa zoomorphs are too faint to be sure of the exact layouts. One
example has been illustrated by Linares Málaga (2013 - 1981: Fig. 16).
Quilcapampa has also a relatively high number of anthropomorphic figures with an X-motif on
the body, but only one anthropomorphic petroglyph at Quilcapampa (in Sector 3) concerns a
unique figure with a Feathered X-Pattern on its thorax (Figure 66B). It also has a unique,
triangular head showing a dented (sealed?) mouth. The Feathered X-Pattern is also found twice
at Chillihuay in Ocoña to the west (Figure 66A; Van Hoek 2011b: Fig. 164); once at Mollebaya
Chico in Vítor (Figure 66C) and even (again only once) at the rock art site of Quelgua Grande
in the valley of the Río Tambo (Figure 66D), 100 km SE of Quilcapampa and thus well outside
the Study Area. The same goes for the “Carcancha” icon, which is found in every drainage of
the Study Area, but also at Quebrada Quichihuasi (Begazo 2017), 30 km east of the eastern
“boundary” of the Study Area, the Río Vítor (19 km SSE of Arequipa City centre; see Figure 2
for location). Although the site is located in the Vítor drainage, it is found in a region with a
different rock art tradition.
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Figure 66. Feathered X-Anthropomorphs from A: Chillihuay; B: Quilcapampa; C: Mollebaya
Chico; D: Quelgua Grande. A: Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, based on a photograph by
Rainer Hostnig; B: Photograph © by Stephen Berquist - PIAQ; C: Photograph © by Maarten
van Hoek; D: Photograph © by César Cox Beuzeville.
These two examples prove that boundaries are not closed, but open for the exchange of goods,
ideas and iconographies. The same may apply to the distribution of “Trophy” Head petroglyphs,
which are also found far to the NW of the Study Area (although mainly in the coastal Páracas-
Nasca Heartland; Van Hoek 2010a), as well as at San Antonio in the Locumba drainage (210
km SE of Quilcapampa) (Van Hoek 2010a). Importantly, in the Páracas-Nasca Heartland
isolated rock art images of the “Trophy” Head are lacking (completely?), while rock art images
of “Trophy” Head Carriers are relatively abundant in that area (Van Hoek 2010a). This may
imply that the “Trophy” Head in the Páracas-Nasca Heartland had a different symbolism, only
(?) expressing and commemorating conflicts between (local or regional) groups. Also based on
this suggested difference I propose here that the “Trophy” Head petroglyphs in Arequipa had a
completely different function and symbolism. This claim demands a detailed review of the
status of the “Trophy” Head in the Majes Rock Art Style.
“Trophy” Heads
In order to explain the different symbolism of the Majes “Trophy” Head, I will start discussing
a unique set of related petroglyphs at Toro Muerto, Majes. It concerns petroglyphs of the “Flute
Player”, which is an icon that is rather common in the far south of Peru and northern Chile (Van
Hoek 2005), but extremely rare in MRAS. Like with the term “Trophy” Head, I place the word
“Flute-Player” within quotes, as it is by no means certain that actually a real flute is being
played (see Van Hoek 2010b for a more detailed explanation). Importantly, petroglyphs of the
“Flute-Player” are absent at Quilcapampa (and elsewhere in Sihuas and the larger Study Area)
and it even seemed that - until 2009 - the “Flute-Player” icon was not even part of the MRAS
iconography.
However, in 2009 I recorded three “Flute-Player” petroglyphs at Toro Muerto (all three located
very close together) that are unique in the iconography of the MRAS. Two of those “Flute-
Players” (situated close together on Panel TM-Bb-009B) definitely form a unity and (because
of the flutes) most likely depict an important ritual scene. Importantly, each figure holds a
“Trophy” Head, while one figure has a “Trophy” Head motif on the thorax (Van Hoek 2010a:
Fig. 3) and thus those two figures are even more matchless. If indeed a wind-instrument is being
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played, then the two figures are undeniably male. This unique scene evidently suggests that
these “Trophy” Heads Carriers are part of a specific ritual. But what is the nature of this ritual?
It is often held that a trophy head is the result and goal of violence, warfare and/or conflict.
However, in this section I will propose that the “Trophy” Head depicted in the MRAS has
nothing to do with depicting violence or warfare, but is part of a completely different practice
and ritual. I understand that this “claim” demands a proper (and thus lengthy) explanation,
which will also involve explaining some specific examples of the “Carcancha” icon and some
idiosyncratic bird and feline petroglyphs.
First of all, “standard” “Trophy” Head Carriers (those not playing the “flute”) occur at several
other sites in the Study Area, firmly linking the several drainages. Anthropomorphic “Trophy”
Head Carriers have been recorded at an undisclosed site in the Caravelí drainage (Scaffidi et al.
2021: Fig. 2g); at Illomas in the Manga drainage (Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 25), at
Quebrada Pampa Blanca (Van Hoek 2020a: Fig. 6) and Toro Muerto in the Majes drainage
(Van Hoek 2010a: Fig. 2), while the PIAQ also recorded one example at Quilcapampa in the
Sihuas drainage (see Figure 62). Only in Vítor petroglyphs depicting the “Trophy” Head
Carrier seem to be absent (except for one possible and rather deviant example on Boulder CAL-
067 at La Caldera). However, at Quilcapampa also zoomorphic “Trophy” Head Carriers have
been recorded, including two quadrupeds and (this will prove to be important) at least one bird
(perhaps two). Zoomorphic “Trophy” Head Carriers also provide a firm link with Alto de Pitis
and Toro Muerto in Majes and Illomas in Manga, where similar scenes have been recorded.
Finally, also petroglyphs of isolated “Trophy” Heads of often different shapes and designs
connect Quilcapampa with several sites in almost every drainage in the Study Area. However,
one purported isolated “Trophy” Head petroglyph reported somewhere in the Caravelí Valley
is not recognised by me as a “Trophy” Head (Scaffidi et al. 2021: Fig. 2f). Moreover, if
presenting a study concerning “Trophy” Heads, it is important that the data are correct and as
complete as possible. On the map presented by Scaffidi et al. (2021: Fig. 2) the site of Illomas
is incorrectly marked, while no less than at least eight rock art sites with “Trophy” Heads are
missing on their map: Socor in Sihuas; La Cantera, La Caldera, Mollebaya Chico (on Boulder
MOL-012), Culebrillas and Cerro Verde in Vítor; El Cubo in Majes (Van Hoek 2018a: Fig. 47)
and finally the coastal site of Cerro Pano, which has been fully described by me earlier (Van
Hoek 2011c: Figs 8, 9, 12 and 13; see also Van Hoek 2010a).
Also several examples of the “Trophy” Head with the typical T-shaped hanging” cord link
Quilcapampa with other drainages. Petroglyphs of “Trophy” Heads with such a T-shaped
appendage from the top of the head are found to the west, at Cerro Pano (Van Hoek 2010a: Fig.
38B), Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis in Majes, Illomas in Manga and - to the east - at La Cantera,
La Caldera and Cerro Verde in Vítor. The “Trophy” Head at Quilcapampa with the dented
(sealed?) mouth may be linked with a ceramic that was possibly found in the Majes drainage
(see Figure 60: inset).
Carcanchas” with a “Trophy” Head
There are also some non-standard yet most illustrative petroglyphs of anthropomorphic
“Trophy” Head Carriers in the Study Area. Especially the two petroglyphs of “Trophy” Head
Carriers on Boulder PAJ-143 at Illomas (Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 25) and the single
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one on Boulder QPB-Nz-001 at Quebrada Pampa Blanca (Van Hoek 2020a: Fig. 6) are
important in this study. They not only are anthropomorphs carrying a “Trophy” Head, but they
also appear to be Carcanchas”. It may also be very important that the central figure on Boulder
PAJ-143 at Illomas may well be female; its female sex indicated by the possible vulva-element
at the bottom of the body (compare this element with a comparable configuration in the
petroglyph of the Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph on Panel C1-3 in Section C of Sector
7 at Quilcapampa; see Figure 29). Also the only “Trophy” Head Carrier on Panel B1 in Sector
7 at Quilcapampa may be a female (see Figure 62).
Moreover, above the central figure at Illomas an outlined arc-element is hovering over the head
(also over the right-hand figure), which may be compared with at least two similar elements at
Quilcapampa; one hovering over the head of a Quilcapampa Abstract Anthropomorph, which I
suggest may also represent a female (see Figure 16), the second outlined arc-element seems to
be hovering over a “Carcancha” petroglyph in Sector 5, of which the (possible) empty box-like
element at the bottom might represent a vulva (see Figure 49). A possibly similar arc is hovering
over the head of a “snake-anthropomorph” petroglyph at the rock art site of La Huarca in the
Caravelí Valley (Van Hoek 2015a: Fig. 12). Also this figure may be female. Is the arc-element
(like the bifurcated head appendages) a possible indication of female sex?
Importantly, the three figures (one at Quebrada Pampa Blanca and two at Illomas) not only
provide a firm link with Quilcapampa, but - even more importantly - they also firmly connect
“Trophy” Heads with the concept of the Carcancha”. Especially this connection - combined
with several other arguments - triggered me to change my view about the meaning of the
“Trophy” Head in Majes Style rock art. I now argue that - although of course violence is
involved - violence is not the goal of “Trophy” Head taking of peoples once living in the Study
Area. The ultimate goal of “Trophy” Head taking is more spiritual.
Carcanchas
We have seen that also the Carcanchaicon is found in the Sihuas drainage (so far only at
Quilcapampa and Quebrada de la Tuna), thus also linking Sihuas with all the other drainages in
the Study Area. There are differences however. The examples at Quilcapampa are rather simple
compared to the often sophisticated petroglyphs of “Carcanchasat Toro Muerto and especially
with those at Alto de Pitis. Also statistically the difference is enormous. In the Majes Valley a
minimum of 52 Carcanchapetroglyphs have been recorded (Van Hoek 2021h,), against - so
far - only eight in Sihuas. In order to explain the different symbolism of the “Trophy” Head,
we do not only look at the “Carcancha”, but also at two petroglyphs of a bird at Quilcapampa.
Birds
We have seen that the petroglyphs of birds at Quilcapampa are quite divers in layout. They link
Sihuas with especially Toro Muerto, Alto de Pitis and Illomas. But there are at least two bird
petroglyphs that connect Quilcapampa with Culebrillas, a special rock art site located 44 km to
the ESE, in the Vítor drainage. It concerns the two birds petroglyphs on Panel 11B in Sector 8
- South (see Figure 42C; see Figure APP-8 for location) that display the same character as
several bird petroglyphs recorded by me at Culebrillas. Berquist et al. (2021: 104) label those
two birds as “fighting”. This interpretation may of course be correct, but as they even may be
“courting”, I would like to suggest to rather use the more general term of “confronting”.
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A large bird petroglyph - in Sector 2 at Quilcapampa - is (possibly) unique to Sihuas rock art,
as it is physically linked with a “Trophy” Head (see Figure 56: Inset A). Referring to this
petroglyph, Scaffidi et al. state that “In the Sihuas Valley, there is a carving of a raptor holding
a head from its talons” (2021: 9 in PDF; Fig. 2d; my emphasis). However, based on the PIAQ
photos I have available of that specific bird, I prefer to remark that the “Trophy” Head is not
held by one of the claws of this bird, but is connected to the bird by two closely arranged,
diagonal, parallel lines, that are most likely too long to represent one (or two) leg(s). The factual
legs of the bird are - in my opinion - horizontally arranged and are spread out, opposite each
other. The long, parallel lines (and perhaps the “Trophy” Head as well) may therefore be later
additions. Whatever the scenario, the resulting combination of a bird and a “Trophy” Head may
well be highly intentional and clarifying. I recommend that this important panel (and several
others) should be scanned from close-by to ascertain the layout and the fine details. Finally, in
order to understand the role and goal of the “Trophy” Head, it is necessary to know the
distribution of the “Trophy” Head, also in relation to other important motifs (Figure 67).
Figure 67. Distribution patterns of the most important groups of images across Quilcapampa.
Drawing © by Maarten van Hoek, A and C: based on Google Earth ; B: based on Figure 3.19
in Berquist et al. (2021). Note that the two maps (A and C) may not show all petroglyphs and
that the locations marked on the maps may be inaccurate due to the large scale of the site.
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PART 3
Reconsidering the Concept of the
Majes “Trophy” Head
Based on my understanding of the rock art of the Study Area I would like to argue here that the
meaning of the “Trophy” Head in the MSRA is (completely!?) different from the too easily
accepted theory that the images of “Trophy” Heads in Arequipa rock art are predominantly
linked with only violence, warfare and/or conflicts (Scaffidi and Tung 2020; Scaffidi et al.
2021).
First of all, I have convincingly demonstrated (Van Hoek 2021g) that there is no question of
MSRA depicting weapons, or scenes of violence, conflict or warfare, as claimed by academic
bio-archaeologists Beth Scaffidi and Tiffiny Tung (Scaffidi and Tung 2020). And secondly, as
far as I know, no weapons have been found in or very near Arequipa burials containing severed
skulls, like Uraca and La Real in Majes. At La Real for instance, a disconnect between the high
cranial trauma and the lack of evidence for weapons and other celebrations of warfare in the
funerary artifacts was noted. (Justin Jennings, pers. comm., May 2021).
Yet, the titles and related texts of at least two published papers seem to claim that the “Trophy”
Head petroglyphs in the Majes Valley are firmly linked with only violence, conflict and/or
warfare. First of all there is the paper by academic bio-archaeologists Beth Scaffidi and Tiffiny
Tung called: “Endemic violence in a pre-Hispanic Andean community: A bioarchaeological
study of cranial trauma from the Majes Valley, Peru.” (Scaffidi and Tung 2020: my emphasis).
In this paper the authors claim to have knowledge of petroglyphs in Majes depicting
anthropomorphic “Trophy” Head Carriers involving weapons. In a response I have
convincingly demonstrated that - first of all - their graphical “evidence” (2019: Fig. 3) is
falsified and - secondly - that their conclusions regarding Majes rock art are incorrect, being
based on fabricated evidence (Van Hoek 2020b). In a subsequent paper I convincingly
demonstrated that there is no question at all of violence or conflict or warfare being depicted
in the rock art in the whole of the Study Area (Van Hoek 2021g). This does not mean that I
deny that violence, conflict or even warfare existed in prehistoric Arequipa. I only refute the
practice to uncritically link the cultural and archaeological data (gathered from excavations,
burials etc.) with the factual content of Arequipa rock art imagery.
Although also Sihuas has its fair share of life-death related petroglyphs, including “Trophy”
Heads, Carcanchasand Mummy Bundles, also the imagery of the rock art sites in Sihuas
does not involve any kind of confrontation between people, nor are any weapons being depicted,
as far as I know. Only a very limited number of confrontations between zoomorphs have so far
been recorded (which is in agreement with the rest of the MRAS), for instance at Quebrada de
la Tuna (involving a rather peaceful-looking encounter between two camelids) and also at
Quilcapampa (one scene depicting a confrontation between the two Culebrillas-like birds,
discussed above). Some other instances at Quilcapampa seem to depict non-aggressive
confrontations between quadrupeds (which are comparable with many similar scenes at Toro
Muerto, often involving the Majes “Spitter” and birds).
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In 2021 Scaffidi et al. published a paper called: Non-Local Enemies or Local Subjects of
Violence?: Using Strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and Lead (206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb,
208Pb/204Pb) Isobiographies to Reconstruct Geographic Origins and Early Childhood
Mobility of Decapitated Male Heads from the Majes Valley, Peru. This very informative paper
indeed offers much evidence of violence in and between Arequipa individuals and groups, also
involving the taking of heads from various persons. Unfortunately they also argue that
Evidence for trophy-taking practices in the southern [?] Andes comes from the
bioarchaeological analysis of heads and their depictions in carvings, etched in petroglyphs,
painted on ceramics, and woven into intricate textile designs.” (Scaffidi et al. 2021: 6 in PDF;
my emphases and addition).
Of course their statement is correct, but the only serious flaw is that they accept that the
petroglyphs factually depict trophy-taking practices, especially because they also argue that
Several depictions of trophy-taking are present at the largest petroglyph site in Peru, Toro
Muerto, …(Scaffidi et al. 2021: 8 in PDF; my emphasis). I refute that the act of taking has
been depicted anywhere in the rock art of Arequipa. I prefer to say that the petroglyphs of
“Trophy” Heads recorded anywhere in the Study Area are the result of trophy-taking practices,
and this is not a case of semantics. In not a single case the actual decapitation has been depicted
in MSRA. Not in a single case a MRAS petroglyph of a “Trophy” Head (Carrier) has been
depicted actually holding an recognisable object that could represent a weapon or an object
used in decapitation. To me that is a huge difference, especially as it may simply imply that the
actual decapitation and the recording of “Trophy” Heads in rock art operate on two completely
different levels (as is often the case in Desert Andes rock art).
I also argue that the authors should be more observant when describing images or scenes in
MRAS, as they state that “These [petroglyphs from Toro Muerto] include the image of a human-
like figure holding a decapitated head by the hair from the right hand and an image of a feline
[?] holding a head by the hair from its mouth. (Scaffidi et al. 2021: 9 in PDF; my emphases
and additions). Thus they seem to ignore the possibility that the single (sometimes double) line
actually depicts the “hanging” cord by which the “Trophy” Head is carried or hung from a belt.
Therefore I reject their statement that the anthropomorphic figure and the zoomorphic figure
are holding a decapitated head by the hair”. This does not mean however, that a “Trophy”
Head is not ever held by the hair. For instance, several Nasca ceramics depict such practices.
Scaffidi et al. have demonstrated that the practice of decapitation was performed over a long
period: “the earliest trophy [unearthed at Uraca, Majes] predates the Wari Empire by 500
years (2021: 13 in PDF; my addition), while other “Trophy” Heads from Uraca clearly show
the Wari style of skull-perforation. They also appropriately argue that the meaning of the
“Trophy” Head may have changed over time. They also acknowledge that there is still much
uncertainty about the nature of the “Trophy” Head taking and that several reasons for this
practice are being accepted. For instance they refer to Julius Tello who argued “that at least
in some cases, Andean trophies were taken from local people who died or had been sacrificed
rather than from enemies of war”, while other scholars argued that the intense preparation
of heads and the attention to preserving facial features is suggestive of an ancestor cult rather
than warfare.” and that decapitated heads [served] as communal sacrifices offered to the gods
to promote agricultural fertility.” (Scaffidi et al. 2021: 4, 5 and 8 in PDF; my emphases and
addition; omitting all references mentioned by Scaffidi et al.).
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In this respect an important observation by Scaffidi et al. reads : The head (especially the
mouth and eyes) is viewed as the locus of an individual’s vital life force and animating essence
in Amerindian ontology; as such, the head was a potential source of great power and danger,
necessitating caution, care, and even supernatural protection while manipulating the head’s
flesh and bone and handling and curating the head throughout different phases of its use-life.”
(2021: 4 in PDF; my emphasis; omitting all references mentioned by Scaffidi et al.).
Why are the observations regarding the head quoted above so important? Because those
observations about the head may explain why I prefer to put forward a different symbolism of
the “Trophy” Head in MSRA. Of course decapitation is a form of violence and there is no doubt
that people from other regions may have (been) migrated to for instance the Majes Valley to be
decapitated there, like Scaffidi et al. propose: “Individuals … may have travelled to Uraca and
Toro Muerto as a religious pilgrimage, to trade, to move llama caravans from the highlands to
the coast, or en route to another location - before settling there for an unknown duration prior
to death and burial.” (2021: 32 in PDF; omitting some details that are irrelevant here). But why
would Majes people take the trouble to have foreign people transported (whether forced,
voluntary, or something in-between, as formulated by Scaffidi et al. 2021: 43 in PDF) and then
having decapitated? Is it because there actually existed a different reason to decapitate people
in the Study Area? Therefore, what I miss in the studies by Scaffidi and Tung is an alternative
purpose for the decapitations in Majes. One specific alternative will be offered in this study.
Regrettably, regarding rock art the two authors focus on only Toro Muerto and thus seem to
ignore the crucial role of the important petroglyphs at Alto de Pitis with its enormous quantity
of Carcancha images. The “Carcancha” image is not even mentioned in their studies, while
especially “Carcanchasand “Carcanchascarrying “Trophy” Heads are - in my opinion - of
key importance in explaining the reason why so many people were decapitated in Majes. And
while decapitating probably occurred elsewhere in the Study Area as well, it is possible that the
Central Majes Valley (the area including Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis) was the focal point of
decapitation rituals.
In my opinion the reason to decapitate people has nothing to do with violence in itself (although
violence - of course - is necessary, but it is