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

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

Dr. Cabrera's Stone Museum in Ica, Peru

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

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

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

The museum

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

The stones

Dr. Cabrera's Stone Museum in Ica, Peru

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

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

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

The carvings

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

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

Surgeon cutting open a head

This particular stone shows a surgeon cutting open a head.

surgeon takes out the brain...

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

the surgeon connects the brain to some sort of apparatus

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

another stone shows taking blood from a pregnant woman

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

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

What does this all mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some resources that might be of interest:

Xpeditions TV: Secrets of the Sand

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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

  1. dtravelsround January 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    How mysterious and cool! I’d love to check out this museum!

    • Nancy January 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      It is really quite amazing. I was so glad we had the chance to visit as, looking back, it was one of the neatest things we saw. Too bad it’s not on the normal tourist route as it’s very unique.

    • steve thompson November 1, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Nancy, You did not go into detail about the dinosaur Ica stones– and there are a lot of them. Many archaeologists believe that many Ica stones are authentic and perhaps pre Inca (I teach archaeology at the Southwest Florida Bible Institute). Duplicates were perhaps made as a new market opened up. I plan on going to Lima, Machu Picchu, Ica and maybe even Nazca next spring. One cannot date a rock, but Dennis Swift wrote a book about Nazca lines/Ica Stones (He knew the eccentric Dr. Cabrera) and notes how mold, lichens, micro organisms and other living entities help date these rocks, as well as the way the rocks were made and the tools used to cut into them. Your bicycle excursions fascinated me. Very few people get out of the box. I love to travel and admired the way your family did it. Steve Thompson

      • Nancy Sathre-Vogel November 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

        @steve thompson, Thanks Steve! We were fascinated by Dr. Cabrera’s Stone Museum – amazing place! Although I understand that the official story of the Peruvian government is that they are all fakes, I believe they are not. I’m not sure what the story behind them is, but I’m convinced they are the real deal – whatever the real deal is.

    • Darren LaCroix February 10, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

      I visited the museum in Nov. ’13. We didn’t have an appointment but luckily he was around. Dr. Cabrera gave us a three hour tour of his findings. WOW, left speechless.
      I would love to one day return to Peru and help him with his projects. He gave us an invitation to do so. He is an amazing, intelligent, totally selfless individual who has found something very, very special and who wants nothing more then to share it with the world.

      • Darren LaCroix February 10, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

        something I forgot to mention is that inside the carving lines are fossils, how cool is that!!

      • Nancy Sathre-Vogel February 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

        @Darren LaCroix, Dr. Cabrera died a few years ago. Now, his daughter runs the museum. But yeah- it’s an amazing place and I would love to see these rocks further analyzed.

  2. Heidi January 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Ok, as a fraud investigator by day, I must admit I’m skeptical but intrigued. Definitely a reason to visit Ica, Peru, to see for myself!

    • Nancy January 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      Definitely. It’s just so fascinating. I don’t buy the farmer story at all, but I have no other plausible explanation. You guys need to go there!

  3. Justin January 17, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Well, now I have even more reason’s to go to Peru. I’m going to sit in the desert and wait. If there faking it – I’ll find them. If not, it will be pretty cool to vit the desert in Peru.

    Wild stuff. 50,000? That is a hell of spoof if that’s what it is.

    • Nancy January 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Exactly. The sheer number of stones blows my mind. Even if the only ones in existence are the 20,000 in the museum, that’s still a heck of a lot of stones. How could some farmer in the desert carve them all? A mystery for sure.

  4. Dayna January 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Looks like a great museum to check out! I love those surprises that you think may not be too interesting, and they turn out to be memorable!

    • Nancy January 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Those unexpected surprises are the best part of travel!

  5. Claire January 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I missed this museum when I was there, now I have another reason to go back. Really LOVED Peru!

    • Nancy January 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      Definitely a reason to go back! I don’t know why this museum isn’t one of the main attractions of Peru. For us, it was a real highlight of the country!

  6. AlexBerger January 24, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    New and very interesting. Will have to check it out!

    • Nancy January 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Seriously, I have to say it was the most fascinating place we saw in Peru. Topped Macchu Pichu by a mile!

  7. Molly January 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Oh my goodness! This is so fascinating. It makes me believe more and more that there were aliens with ancient cultures! Wow!

    By the way, you guys have a lovely blog! I just began following you!

    Happy travels!

    • Nancy January 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Thank you so much Molly! Welcome to our adventures.

      I’ve always thought “those people” who believed in aliens were crackpots, but now… well, now I’m not quite so sure. Wish I somehow explain this stuff away.

      • Molly January 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm #


        Haha – yes, Nancy, I used to think the same thing! But with the ancient ruins of Peru, it’s difficult to continue believing the same things.

        I will actually be traveling to Peru with my family soon and I really look forward to stopping by this museum! Also, I’ve begun a blog and I would love to add the link to your blog, if that’s ok with you and your family!

        My blog is at


        • Nancy January 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

          I just checked out your blog – I am so excited for you! I always love to hear about families who decide to live life on their own terms and head out to explore the unknown. Good for you for making the most difficult decision in your life and going for it! You will not regret it!

          And absolutely – I’d be honored if you added my blog to yours!

  8. constance February 22, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I am so Happy for you and your family to be able to travel the way you travel, I wish I could have taken my sons on more adventures like yours, Kudos to the boys as they are obviously intelligent and well rounded and not indoctrinated, they will go far! Love your website and appreciate you sharing this great mystery (stones) with the world.

    • Nancy February 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      @constance, You seriously should try to get down to Peru and the stone museum – fascinating place!

  9. Ernesto Cabrera Claux December 5, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Buen día, el museo esta funcionando, el director es Ernesto Cabrera Claux y el teléfono de contacto es 999437702

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel December 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

      @Ernesto Cabrera Claux, Gracias! Me encanto el museo.

      To translate into English: The museum is open and functioning. The director is Ernesto Cabrera Claux and the phone number is 999437702.

  10. Ernesto Cabrera Claux December 26, 2012 at 11:51 pm #


  11. ArjunA January 30, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Dear heart,

    Something inside tell me these Ica stones are the remnant of Mu or Lemuria to remind humanity of a cycle forgotten or simply wiped out of our memory. Last december we did our sacred mission at Aramu Muru at the borders of Titicaca Lake. Thanks for posting this. Light & insight in the New Reality.

    ArjunA from the Netherlands.

  12. Linda March 13, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    I am currently reading a book entitled ‘The Mysteries Of The Andes’ by Robert Charroux, a Frenchman who refers to himself as a Primohistorian, (Primordial Historian). He writes about how he stumbled onto Dr. Cabrera’s museum do to a recommendation from his guide on April 29, 1973 during a pit stop in his travels. He was so greatly astonished and excited that when he returned the following year in March for further study, he brought along his publisher and editor as witnesses to the collection of ancient artifacts. These stones upon discovery were immediately repudiated by the prehistorians of the time and as far as I know have not been taken seriously by mainstream prehistorians since then. Mr. Charroux said that was to be expected since historians and scientist are quite happy with how their world view is tied up with a neat ribbon and are loath to rewrite history. However, he did have hopes for the future, that one day the stones would be viewed as legitimate clues to our past. Its been nearly 40 years since his initial visit so I decided to Google Dr. Cabrera to see if any progress had been made in accepting the stones as scientific and historical artifacts and came upon your website. As of now your blog is as far as I got, but I have the feeling that Dr. Cabrera’s Museum will have to remain the keeper of the stones a little while longer until humanity is ready to discover and accept our true mysterious past. I am very pleased that you and your family were able to share in that experience.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel March 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      @Linda, Dr Cabrera’s stones are fascinating! I do not buy the official story that they were carved by farmers out in the desert at all. I am convinced there is something special about those rocks – wish I knew what. I think they should be studied by world-reknowned scientists.

  13. Helen April 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Hello Nancy,

    Your reference to the Inca Stones had me reading your blog.
    First saw the stones online last year surfing for ancient carvings.
    Am still in wonder!
    Has there been carbon dating done on them? Surely.

    All best to you and your family


    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel April 2, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      @Helen, There has not been any carbon dating done the stones – or at least none as of 2010 when we were there. The official story from the Peruvian government is that the stones are being created by some farmers out in the desert, so there is no need for carbon dating. I, personally, think there should be world-class scientists working on them.

    • Paul Robinson February 6, 2016 at 10:13 am #

      JUST a heads up – you cannot C14 date stones. IF they were fired,as the Acambero figurines in Mexico were, THEN they will be organic residue to C14 date.

      WHICH by the way is another Hushed-up mystery, attributed officially to farmers making fakes – and another impossible rate of production.

      BOTH displays and their coverups demonstrate that man and dinosaurs were cohabitants of the world for quite a while.

      • Nancy Sathre-Vogel February 6, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

        Really? Man and dinosaurs were cohabitants of the world? Can you explain?

  14. Juli July 27, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Why in the world do you u think “world-class scientists” should study the Ica Stones? Could you not feel the power emenating from them? This past week I was fortunate to have attended a lecture about the stones, of which Dr. Cabrera felt so strongly about he became known as the loco doctor, because he felt they needed to be preserved and protected at all cost. The Ica Stones are a METAPHYSICAL gift from the same beings responsible for the Nasca sand drawings. If you approach them from a metaphysical viewpoint, much information will become clearer and make more sense! Namaste!

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel July 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      @Juli, Although I can see the point where one would want to leave them surrounded in mystery as they are now, I would like to see them looked into. When were they carved? Why? What kind of stone are they? Why the two layers? How did that form? I think a lot of questions could be answered if Peru would allow them to be studied.

  15. Paul December 6, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Hello Nancy,
    Did you know about uncarved stones?
    And did you have seen them?
    Thanks for this story.
    Paul from holland

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel December 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      @Paul, I saw a few uncarved stones. Mostly what they had in the museum were carved ones, but there were a few that weren’t. They did have one that had fallen and broke, so you could see the two layers. They are fascinating stones!

  16. Danny May 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Fascinating posts. My son and I took a seminary class in Salem Oregon together many years ago. The professor was a Dr. Donald Chittick. He was a brilliant hydrologist and author who has since passed on. It was his contention that mankind was more advanced in past ages. He sited many of the things you photographed. He said there was evidence of ancient batteries, brain surgery and calculators. He had photographs of the drawings in the Peruvian desert that covered many miles of land and even bisected by mountains. Yet they depicted objected only seen by a microscope! All had similar evidence to your experience. As you might imagine, the general scientific community dismissed him on this topic as a crank. I believed him. Now some 30 years later I read your account. I am convinced we are looking at anti-antediluvian evidence. Thanks for the new details….Danny


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