The Mislaid Beringa Petroglyph

This study describes curious cases of “missing” information about petroglyphs reported (and recorded?) at the archaeological complex at Beringa in the Majes Valley of southern Peru. It was claimed (2007) by the leading excavator, Prof. Tiffiny Tung, that all petroglyphs were documented in 2001 and yet not a single illustration of the Beringa petroglyphs is available. Why? This study tries to answer that question, also by placing the issue in a broader context by adding a revealing Addendum.

 By Maarten van Hoek


The Mislaid Beringa Petroglyph

A Missed Opportunity or a Misleading Missive?


Maarten van Hoek



Beringa is the name of an important archaeological complex in the Majes Valley of southern Peru. The ruins of the extensive village settlement at Beringa (with both domestic and mortuary contexts) are located on a low, flat-topped ridge parallel to and immediately overlooking the River Majes to the west. The site was at least occupied in the first part of the Middle Horizon (ca. A.D. 600 to 800) and again in the initial phase of the Late Intermediate Period (ca. A.D. 1050 to 1150) and analysis of excavated remains suggest that Beringa was home to fisher folk, agriculturalists, and textile weavers, essentially comprising a community of commoners (Tung 2007a: 943 – 944). Although Tiffiny Tung primarily suggests that the location had much to do with being easily defensible (2007a: 952), also other factors may explain the elevated location, such as the advantage of being protected against intermittent flooding of the Majes Valley. In this paper I leave aside the – only in this context – irrelevant role of the Wari, who visited (occupied?) the Majes Valley, as well as Beringa. Also the question who or what caused the many signs of violence to human skulls excavated at Beringa will be ignored here. This study focusses on only one purportedly important discovery: rock art at Beringa.


Rock Art at Beringa

The archaeological site of Beringa was scientifically investigated and excavated by a team of academic researchers, supervised by Prof. Tiffiny Tung in 2001. The results were published in Andean Past (Tung 2007b), which – in my opinion – involved a very important discovery concerning rock art that was reported at Beringa. This important, yet undervalued discovery was – in my opinion most inadequately – described by Tung as follows: “This small east room (Unit 2 in Sector A) also yielded three placas pintadas commingled guinea pig bones, a human hair braid, and a camelid petroglyph on the internal surface of a foundation stone, further supporting the notion that this building had a ritual function. No petroglyphs were observed in other structures, but they were observed on large boulders surrounding the site.” (Tung 2007b: 258; my emphases and addition). As no further information or illustrative illustrations of the “camelid” petroglyph were included in her paper, I regard this possibly very important discovery (?) to have been badly silenced, as I will explain, also clarifying the (?).

Remarkably, Tung argues that the “camelid” petroglyph discovered inside Unit 2 – Sector A supports the notion that this building had a ritual function. She thus ignored the possibility that the (much older?) petroglyph-stone may have been used simply as building material, like with the Warango church at Toro Grande immediately east of the enormous boulder field of Toro Muerto, which also incorporates petroglyph stones (Linares Málaga 2011: 206). If indeed the stone is an example of re-use of building material, the “ritual” function of the room may well be erroneous in this respect. If not, the ritual character is not even established with certainty.

It is also remarkable that, although especially because of the rich rock art repertoire especially at the rock art sites of Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis, the Majes Valley truly deserves the title “the Death Valley of the Andes” (Van Hoek 2013),  none of the published works about Beringa (available to me) offers any link with the rich rock art gamut of the Majes Valley, while the presence of at least the Toro Muerto petroglyphs certainly will have been known to many of the researchers digging at Beringa. Only Tung (2007b: 258) mentions the presence of petroglyph boulders at Beringa, without, unfortunately, offering any further information or illustrations and thus, more importantly, without establishing any relationship with the rich repertoire of the important neighbouring rock art sites in the Majes Valley and beyond.

Of course I was curious to learn more about the Beringa petroglyphs and emailed Tung, but unfortunately Tung was not able to help me (or not helpful) by providing me with any additional information about the style and content of the rock art at Beringa. She emailed me that she did not have any photos of the petroglyphs at Beringa; not even of the “camelid” petroglyph, because that was not her primary area of research (Tung, July 2012: pers. comm.). To me this sounds very strange because in her paper she writes that “numerous photos were taken throughout the process of surface collection and excavation” (Tung 2007b: 269; my emphases). Why excluding or not photographing such an important find? Did she not realise how crucial this petroglyph was? An archaeologist working in the Majes Valley – housing one of the biggest rock art concentrations in the world – should have been aware in advance of the importance of rock art in general and of the Beringa “camelid” petroglyph in particular.

What makes the lack of any illustration of the Beringa petroglyphs even more hard to believe is the fact that she wrote: “Using a theodolite, the mapping team documented all visible architectural features, trash berms, tomb openings, looters’ pits, petroglyphs, surface collection units, excavation units, and the edge of the site as demarcated by a steep escarpment along its western edge” (Tung 2007b: 269; my emphases). Having said all this, I now wonder why no illustrations of the Beringa petroglyphs are available. Has it anything to do with silencing a non-academic rock art researcher?

Consequently I asked Augusto Cardona Rosas, an archaeologist deeply interested in Arequipa rock art and director of CIARQ, Arequipa, who visited the Beringa Project, and Bruce Owen of the Department of Anthropology, Sonoma State University, USA, who functioned as the project ceramicist during a large part of the excavations, if they had taken any photographs of the petroglyphs. Through emails they both answered me that they as well did not have any photographs of the petroglyphs at Beringa (2012: pers. comm.).

To me it sounds very hard to believe that a scientific, archaeological survey would not ([photo]graphically) record all items related to the investigations; thus also not all rock art manifestations. Why only illustrating and fully describing ‘placas pintadas’ [Tung 2007b: Fig 9] and not the petroglyphs? In this study I argue that a full record of the “camelid” petroglyph (said to have been discovered in Unit 2 – Sector A) would have been of crucial importance in understanding Majes rock art in general (sensu stricto and sensu lato).


The Silenced “Camelid”

Why now is the rock art content of Beringa so important? First of all, earlier in this study I argued that the stone with the “camelid” petroglyph (see Figure 10) may well have been re-used (see also Van Hoek 2013: 96 – 99, and a full discussion in Van Hoek 2011). This would mean that the stone was decorated at a spot outside Sector A (but where?) and was – (much?) later – moved to Unit 2 in Sector A. This possibility should have been scientifically checked during the excavations supervised by Tung, but there is no mention of this possibility in her paper.

Even more importantly, especially when not re-used, a more proper survey of this (in situ!) stone in its original position should have been undertaken. It is even possible that the petroglyph was manufactured when the stone was already incorporated into the structure. Whatever the sequence, the investigation of the undisturbed (?) deposits may have yielded much reliable, sealed-context information that would have been most useful – for instance – in a relative dating of this petroglyph. Especially pollen-analyses and dating of charcoal or other organic remains possibly present in the covering deposits may have yielded useful information, possibly leading to a more accurate dating of the petroglyph.

Furthermore, the labelling of the petroglyph by Tung as a “camelid” is meaningless without offering a good drawing or photograph. Even after twenty years of experience in the field and intensively studying rock art from the Majes Valley at home, I am still uncertain in several cases if indeed a Majes petroglyph of a quadruped depicts a camelid. To complicate things further, I am convinced that several petroglyphs of “camelids” in the Majes Valley (and beyond) show characteristics of other quadruped species, like the long tail or the claws of the feline (see for instance Figure 1). For that reason I now prefer to use the general term “quadrupeds”, or to write “camelids” to express uncertainty. Tung however speaks of a camelid, without any reservation and without providing any illustration. Therefore, many questions remain, which will never be answered without a reliable illustration of the “camelid” on the slab of stone in Unit 2 – Sector A at Beringa. And there are many questions indeed.

Figure 1: Fully pecked “camelid” petroglyph at Toro Muerto. However, note the long (extended?) feline (?) tail and the five-digit “feline claws”, as well as the smaller, possible camelid between the legs (not in the suckling position, though) and the equally small animal (note its tail and digits!) just above the large animal. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

First of all, it is important – when asking those questions – to realise that the rock art repertoire of the Majes Valley offers an enormous variation of camelid and  “camelid” images that were created during a very long time span. They range from very large and much elaborated, outlined examples (earlier?) to very small and very simple match-stick depictions (later?), apparently of different ages. Let me review which questions a dedicated archaeologist would be asking and checking.

Assuming that there was indeed only one image on the stone in Unit 2 – Sector A at Beringa, (and even that is not certain) what was the size of the petroglyph? But also, what was the size and shape of the stone? Was the carved surface smooth or rough? At Toro Muerto I recorded petroglyphs of match-stick camelids measuring, 6, 4, (Figure 2) 3 and even 2 cm in length (nose to tail), while at La Laja I recorded some large, fully (yet very lightly and not outlined) pecked examples, one measuring 78 cm across (Van Hoek 2022a). At Quilcapampa in the Sihuas Valley a petroglyph of an (almost) life-size camelid has been recorded by Stephen Berquist (Van Hoek 2021b: Fig. 64). On Boulder PAJ-028 at Illomas in the Manga drainage, a petroglyph of an outlined, decorated quadruped (most likely a camelid), measuring no less than (approximately) 230 cm in length has been recorded by Grupo Andaray from Arequipa (Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 19). Obviously, size does matter.

Figure 2: Match-stick petroglyphs of probable camelids, measuring 6 (left) and 4 cm across. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Then, what was the exact position of the petroglyph on the stone in Unit 2 – Sector A at Beringa? Was it placed in the centre or peripherical? Was the petroglyph broken-off, if placed near an edge? Was the animal oriented horizontally or diagonally (or perhaps vertically)? Was the head oriented to the left or to the right? Was it looking backwards or not? Were the feet present, and if so, were the feet all pointing in the same direction (usually they are pointing forward), or were there anomalies in this respect?  Did the “camelid” have two legs or four legs? If the legs showed feet, were the hooves indicated or not? The two hooves are a positive indication to establish that a quadruped is a camelid (Figure 3), although even then the image may still show properties of the feline (like a long upcurved tail). Did the animal have a leash attached to its neck, like some rare examples at Toro Muerto (Figure 4), at Quilcapampa in the Sihuas Valley (Van Hoek 2021b: Fig. 20), as well as at Illomas in the Manga drainage (Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 17B)?

Figure 3: Partially outlined petroglyph of a camelid. Note the two hooves projecting from its fully pecked hind leg. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Figure 4: Fully pecked petroglyphs of a camelid “family”. Note the leash held by the anthropomorphic figure. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Concerning the technique with which it was made. Was the petroglyph, incised, (re-)scratched, (lightly or crudely) pecked or abraded? Finally, were parts of the image intentionally obliterated, like with a petroglyph at Toro Muerto (Figure 5), a prehistoric practice explained by me earlier (Van Hoek 2005)?

Figure 5: Outlined, yet later (ritually?) obliterated petroglyph of a camelid. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Then there are questions about the layout. Was it a match-stick figure? If not, was it outlined or was it partially or fully pecked? If outlined, was the image empty or filled with (abstract) decoration (like lines, dots etc.)? Was it drawn with dots only, thus without a continuous line outlining the body (a technique only very rarely occurring in Majes rock art)?

Was the slab with the Beringa “camelid” fully unearthed by Tung or not? This is relevant, as is demonstrated by a photo of a boulder at Toro Muerto by Núñez Jiménez (1986: Fig. 2318) showing a petroglyph that was interpreted by him as a bird (1986: Fig. 2317). In 2015 the PTM-team further excavated the bottom part of this boulder and revealed that the image had in fact two long legs that ended in the very distinct hooves of a camelid. Additionally, it is possible that – after having been exposed by Team Tung – the Beringa “camelid” showed differences in patination (in case of having been partially buried at the original location and thus before having been incorporated in the later, anthropic structure). In rare cases a combination of style and patination provides certainty about relative dating, like the much less patinated, later match-stick petroglyphs of camelids with their young at Toro Muerto (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Match-stick petroglyphs of camelids. Note the difference in patination. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Finally, in some very exceptional cases it is obvious that either a male camelid or a female camelid has been depicted in the rock art of the Majes Valley (see Figures 4 and 6). Sex can be determined for instance when zoomorphic petroglyphs feature a phallus or a vulva, or – only regarding camelid images! – when having a smaller camelid (a young) in the suckling position between the legs (see Figures 4 and 6). Another obvious indication of sex are the rare but informative examples of copulation in Majes Valley rock art showing – in at least one case – the phallus and the apparent vulva (Figure 7). Did the Beringa “camelid” show any information about its sex? Without reliable illustrations we will never get the answers, because the “camelid” has been silenced by Prof. Tung (on purpose?).

Figure 7: Petroglyphs of copulating camelids. The phallus and the possible vulva (the bulbous area at the back end – which is not a tail!) are discernible. Toro Muerto. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

Remarkably, the silencing of the Beringa “camelid” is in strong contrast with the very detailed and illustrated discussion about the 224 “placas pintadas” discovered at Beringa (Tung 2007b: 261 – 262; Fig. 9). This is an inconsistency. Why? Importantly, “placas pintadas” comprise – but only when applied onto natural pebbles (not onto anthropically fabricated clay tablets) – a most distinct form of rock art. And yet Tung informed me that she did not make photos of the Beringa petroglyphs, “because that [rock art] was not her primary area of research” (Tung, July 2012: pers. comm.; my addition). Obviously she thus contradicts herself by discussing and illustrating the “placas pintadas” at Beringa, but not the petroglyphs. It seems that Prof. Tung, working in the valley – housing the largest concentration of rock art in South America – was not aware of the importance of petroglyphs. Either she was not interested (as she claims herself), or … perhaps the Beringa petroglyph(s) never existed.


 More Silenced Petroglyphs

The same lack of illustrative material and information inhibits a proper analysis of the other rock art purportedly recorded at Beringa. Regarding the “large boulders surrounding the site” it is most relevant to know whether the petroglyphs on those boulders showed only petroglyphs of camelids, or a mixture of all sorts of images of possibly different dates (and if so, which images; see for instance Van Hoek 2018: Fig. 94). In this respect I also refer to my publication about the rock art of Miraflores-Pachana in the Manga Valley (25 km due west of Beringa), where – except for two felines – all biomorphic petroglyphs concerned simple match-stick camelids, which is rather unusual, yet perfectly reasonable within the context of the location of the art, as has been fully explained by me (Van Hoek 2022b).

Indeed, also the images on the “large boulders surrounding the site” may well have been important. They may establish a possible relationship with the Unit 2 “camelid” and the whole Beringa Archaeological Complex, because those boulders may also have images of “camelids” similar to the example in Unit 2 – Sector A, or, if not related, they may have been revealing in the context of the general rock art repertoire of the Majes Valley (and the area beyond). Because Tung did not include or have any illustration of the imagery on the “large boulders surrounding the site”, establishing a link between the “camelid” of Unit 2 in Sector A and the imagery on those “large boulders surrounding the site” is also impossible. Another missed opportunity.

Unfortunately and inexplicably, none of the site maps (Tung 2007b: Figs 5 and 6) offers the locations of those “large boulders surrounding the site” (there is also no mention of the numbers of boulders or of the images), so the term ‘surrounding’ is vague. Their positions could have easily been indicated on her maps. Moreover, also the location of the boulder bearing the  “camelid” petroglyph has not even been indicated, not even on her detail-map of Units 2 and 3 (Tung 2007b: Fig. 10). Therefore, if indeed incorporated on purpose, with the goal to enhance the purported ritual character (as suggested by Tung), the possibly important orientation (sunrise – sunset, or even upwards) is unknown. I for one doubt the ritual character of the “camelid” petroglyph (and this also goes for the whole of Unit 2 and 3 – Sector A, as both rooms have no tombs, only looters pits). Finally, it seems that the excavations supervised by Tung did not even unearth the whole of Unit 2 and 3 and neither all units of the whole complex (Tung 2007b: Figs 5, 6 and 10). Her remark “No petroglyphs were observed in other structures …..” (Tung 2007b: 258) is therefore misleading, as she thus suggests that all structures had been excavated, which is not the case. More petroglyphs may therefore await being revealed.

I consider the unscientific lack of any description and illustration of the Beringa petroglyphs as a missed opportunity to better understand the mechanisms related to rock art production and image selection in this extremely important rock art region. The absence of any detailed information about the Beringa petroglyphs in the paper by Tung proves again that – also in general – rock art is (too) often neglected in archaeology. It also proves that, unfortunately, professional academic researchers do not always (photographically) record everything relevant. I therefore recommend that every official, scientific archaeological survey/excavation records rock art – no matter how simple – in every possible way (photographically, textually and with maps). I also strongly advocate – when publishing about rock art as a researcher who is unfamiliar with (the regional) rock art (like Tung and Scaffidi) – to first consult an expert in regional rock art traditions (whether an academic or a non-academic!), before jumping to (often incorrect) conclusions and before publishing incorrect (graphical) material (issues that which will be elucidated in more detail in the Addendum).


Silencing a Researcher

Based on the information that I now have available, it seems as if the Beringa “camelid” petroglyph (Figure 10) was “silenced”. There are no drawings or photographs (made or available), despite the fact that Tung in her paper (2007b) claims to have photographed all petroglyphs. Those illustrations either were never made, or have been deleted, or I have been denied to receive copies for some unknown reason. I therefore wonder: did Tung actually record a petroglyph in Unit 2 – Sector A or – for that matter – anywhere-else at Beringa? Were those important petroglyphs fictional or silenced? Or was (am) I being silenced?

Regarding the petroglyph(s) of Beringa, the paper by Tung either proves to be a misleading missive, or the petroglyph in Unit 2 seems to have been mislaid. In other words, the petroglyph in Unit 2 may even never have existed. This seems to be confirmed by more recent publication focussing on camelid husbandry in the Majes and Sihuas Valleys (Alaica et al. 2022; Tung being a co-author!). This recent paper also briefly describes Beringa, referring to the paper by Tung (2007b). Importantly, the paper by Alaica et al. focusses on camelids. Then – in my opinion – a remarkable void regarding the description of the Beringa site emerges (Alaica et al. 2022: 4), as the possibly most important “camelid” petroglyph in Unit 2 in Sector A at Beringa is not mentioned at all. As far as I know the “camelid” in Unit 2 – Sector A at Beringa represents the – so far – (only?) example excavated in situ in a possibly sealed context in the Majes Valley. For that reason the “camelid” petroglyph in Unit 2 in Sector A at Beringa should have been treated with meticulous scientific attention during the excavation and – later – Beringa rock art should have been fully discussed in a publication together with many illustrations. All this did not happen. Why?

For that reason I fully explained my concerns about the absent illustrations of all Beringa petroglyphs – claimed by Tung (2007b) to have been made in 2001 – in my book specifically discussing Majes Valley rock art (Van Hoek 2013: 96 – 99). In my 2013-book I stressed the importance of the purported petroglyph(s) at Beringa. But either Tung did not know of my book (which I doubt), or she intentionally ignored my book (the same way she intentionally ignored all my emails to her after 2012 – up to now, writing August 2022).

Concluding, either the remark by Tung about not having photos of the Beringa petroglyphs is unreliable (Tung 2012: pers. comm.), or her report about Beringa (Tung 2007b) is unreliable when it comes to information about rock art. As skilled bio-archaeologists Tung and Scaffidi published much most reliable and useful information about Majes prehistory. However, their remarks and illustrations regarding Majes rock art and conclusion based on their rock art interpretations are often far-fetched, incomplete and/or, unsubstantiated (Van Hoek 2021a) and … even seriously misleading (all my comments are fully explained in the Addendum at the end of this study). Misleading because in 2020 Scaffidi and Tung published “photos” of rock art panels from the Majes Valley that I demonstrated to be completely incorrect and even falsified (Van Hoek 2020; also see the Addendum). Such practices are inexcusable. In my opinion academics should only work with and publish correct information based on facts and facts only.

Therefore, I struggled for about 15 months with Scaffidi and Tung (who – after 2012both never answered any of my many emails) and with their editor, Prof. Dr. Trudy Turner, to have an Erratum being published (Van Hoek 2022c). Finally, in July 2022 an “Erratum” was published. However, the authors, the editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology Prof. Dr. Trudy Turner and the Director of the Publisher (Wiley), Mr. Streeter, proved not to know the very essence of an Erratum. An Erratum should not involve an irrelevant and unnecessary addition to only the caption of their publication. Their Erratum should have rectified their errors, involving the publication of intentionally falsified illustrations, which are definitely not a case of “enhancing the readability” of the two “photos”. However, nobody wanted to admit that the illustrations (and the conclusions based thereon) published by Tung and Scaffidi in 2020 (Fig. 3) were incorrect, as you can read in my reports (Van Hoek 2022d) and in the Addendum. Thus the completely incorrect illustrations of Majes rock art (for an example see Figure 8; see also the Addendum) published by Prof. Tung and Prof. Scaffidi (2020: Fig. 3) continue to be accepted as truthful by the professional, academic world!!!

Figure 8: A: My 2010-drawing of a petroglyph at Toro Muerto compared with B: the falsified illustration of the same petroglyph by Tung and Scaffidi (based on their “photo” of 2020: Fig. 3a). Drawing “B” shows the discreditable, yet academically accepted falsification. Drawings © by Maarten van Hoek. Full details and many more revealing illustrations available in TRACCE-2020, TRACCE-2022c and TRACCE-2022d). Important note. Up to now one academic archaeologist confirmed in an email to me that the two 2020 illustrations by Tung and Scaffidi are scientifically incorrect.

Finally, there seems (proves?) to be a link between the Beringa Issues and the Majes Falsifications. In 2012 I asked Tung if she could send me photos of Beringa rock art. She answered that there were no photos made of the petroglyphs. To me this proves that either Tung was false in her answer to me, or her paper is offering false information. There is no other explanation. What is now the link between her 2007b-Beringa paper and my 2020-Majes paper?

In 2012 Tung claimed that there were no photos of the Beringa petroglyphs. The link is now that during my 15-months struggle regarding the 2020-Majes paper by Tung and Scaffidi, I repeatedly asked the authors and the editor and other people for the full-size, unaltered, original photos of the two falsified photos of the Majes rock art panels (Scaffidi and Tung 2020: Fig. 3). However, I never received any original, unaltered photo. Only two completely uninformative photos were published in the “Erratum”, both altered with D-Stretch (which were the same as two hardly legible photos published by Scaffidi et al. [2021 Fig. 2]). It seems that Tung (and Scaffidi and the editor Trudy Turner) do not want any photo to be shared with me. Thus, not only are the photos of the Beringa petroglyphs and the Majes Falsifications being silenced, also I am being silenced as a rock art researcher and as a person. I wonder why! Why, you ask? When the Beringa and the original Majes photos would be provided, then the inconvenient truth about the lies by Tung, Scaffidi, Turner and Streeter fully would embarrassingly be revealed! They all four are lying to their readers!


Silencing Someone (without any good reason) is Boycotting Someone!

Monddood? Ikke? Mooi Niet! Lees het Addendum maar!



Alaica, A. K., B. K. Scaffidi, L. M. González La Rosa, J. Jennings, K. J. Knudson and T. A. Tung. 2022. Flexible agropastoral strategies during the 1st millennium CE in southern Peru: Examining yunga Arequipa camelid husbandry practices during Wari expansion through stable isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N) in the Majes and Sihuas Valleys. Quaternary International. Pp. 1 – 17.

Jennings, J., M. van Hoek, W. Yépez Álvarez, S. Bautista, R. A. San Miguel Fernández and G. Spence-Morrow. 2019. Illomas: the three thousand year history of a rock art site in Southern Peru. Ñawpa Pacha, Journal of Andean Archaeology. Vol. 39-2; pp. 1 – 31.

Scaffidi, B. K., G. D. Kamenov, A. E. Sharpe and J. Krigbaum. 2021. 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. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Tung, T. A. 2007a. Trauma and violence in the Wari Empire of the Peruvian Andes: warfare, raids, and ritual fights. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 133; pp. 941 – 956.

Tung, T. A. 2007b. The village of Beringa at the periphery of the Wari Empire: a site overview and new radiocarbon dates. Andean Past. Vol. 8; pp 253 – 286.

Van Hoek, M. 2005. Toro Muerto, Peru: Possible Prehistoric Deletion of Petroglyph Details. Adoranten – the Journal of The Scandinavian Prehistoric Society. Vol. 2005; pp. 73 – 80. Underslös, Sweden. Spanish version available at Rupestreweb.

Van Hoek, M. 2011. Aldea de Ramaditas, Chile: Architectural Art or Rock Art? In: Rupestreweb.

Van Hoek, M. 2013. The Carcancha and the Apu – Rock art of the ‘Death Valley of the Andes’. Oisterwijk, The Netherlands. Book only available as PDF at ResearchGate.

Van Hoek, M. 2018. Formative Period Rock Art in Arequipa, Peru. An up-dated analysis of the rock art from Caravelí to Vítor. Oisterwijk, Holland. Book only available as PDF at ResearchGate.

Van Hoek, M. 2020. False Information Concerning Majes Rock Art, Peru. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy.

Van Hoek, M. 2021a. War and Weapons in Majes Style Rock Art? In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy.

Van Hoek, M. 2021b. Accessing the Inaccessible. Rock Art of Quilcapampa, southern Peru. Oisterwijk, the Netherlands. Book only available as PDF at ResearchGate.

Van Hoek, M. 2022a. The Rock Art Site of La Laja – Majes Valley, Peru. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy. PDF available at ResearchGate.

Van Hoek, M. 2022b. The Petroglyphs of Cuesta de la Pachana and Miraflores, Manga Valley, Southern Peru. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy.

Van Hoek, M. 2022c. Vandalism and Falsification of Rock Art: A Matter of Integrity. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy. Extended PDF at ResearchGate.

Van Hoek, M. 2022d. The Majes Falsification Updated – The Inconvenient Truth. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy. PDF – including the meaningless 2022-Erratum published by Tung and Scaffidi – available at ResearchGate.

Figure 9: Outlined and decorated petroglyph of a camelid. Toro Muerto. Possibly its tail has been extended (to look like a feline-tail?). This is a close-up photo of the petroglyph that is also illustrated on the cover photo.

Both photographs are © by Maarten van Hoek.

All photos in this study have been digitally enhanced (not falsified) by the author.



Figure 10: The Beringa “Camelid” Petroglyph (drawing © by Maarten van Hoek).



¿ Quiere usted fortalecer su carácter ?…

¡ No abandone la lucha simplemente porque sea dificil !…

Roy Chapman Andrews



This Addendum is not so much about the Beringa petroglyphs, but further explains the difficulties I have with certain publications by Prof. Tung and Prof. Scaffidi. They both are highly skilled and trained specialists in the field of bio-archaeology and it is beyond any doubt that I – lacking any education in this respect (I am a geographer by profession and rock art researcher since 1975) – am not at all in the position to question any of their bio-archaeological expertise and their bio-archaeological conclusions that are based on their excavations in the field and research in specialised laboratories. However, in my discussion regarding the Beringa petroglyph(s) above, I wrote that their remarks and illustrations regarding Arequipa rock art and conclusions based on their rock art interpretations are often far-fetched, incomplete and/or incorrect, unsubstantiated and … even seriously misleading. Such serious criticisms need to be explained by me, of course, although much of my comments has already been published by me (and ignored by Tung and Scaffidi). But there is more!

The first instance concerns a map published by Scaffidi et al. (2021). If presenting a study that also involves depictions of “Trophy” Heads in rock art, 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 (all listed in Van Hoek 2021b: 71). Moreover, in my opinion the photos on the map are far too small to be scientifically acceptable and especially their Fig. 2a (also included in this study as Figure 15a) is highly misleading.

There is another problem. Regarding their Fig. 2c Scaffidi et al. (2021) seem to admit that they did not see this Alto de Pitis petroglyph in the field, at least in their Note 3 they write : “Scaffidi and team did not trace this petroglyph [at Alto de Pitis].” (2021: the pages in their PDF are unnumbered; my emphases and addition). Confusingly however, in a completely irrelevant, meaningless and again misleading “Erratum” Scaffidi and Tung (2022; my emphases and addition) claim that Scaffidi photographed this panel: “The original photos [of the Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis panels] were taken by Scaffidi during Proyecto Arqueológico Uraca, which she directed.”. However, neither their 2020 and 2021 studies, nor the 2022-Erratum included any original photo (see respectively Figures 14 and 15)! Therefore, what is the truth? And why am I forbidden to see the truly original photos I repeatedly asked for? They were never shared with me. Am I being silenced? I am sure I am.

The next serious problem I have is the fact that Tung and Scaffidi unambiguously claim that the rock art of the Majes Valley depicts violence. They wrote that “Rock art scenes at the neighboring petroglyphs of Toro Muerto convey a preoccupation with violence.” (Scaffidi and Tung 2020: 7; my emphasis). In a lengthy paper I convincingly demonstrated that their claim is definitely not true and completely unsubstantiated (Van Hoek 2021a). Moreover, an academic archaeologist once wrote me (and I quote and emphasise): “I do think that the authors see violence everywhere – they interpreted some headdresses as helmets that I doubt functioned as so.” (see also Scaffidi 2018: 50). Thus, I am not the only one having serious problems with certain (rock art) conclusions by Scaffidi and Tung. Fortunately, in August 2022  this academic archaeologist also admitted to me that their “Erratum” was misleading and that their 2020-“photos” are incorrect.

It is thus clear that I also have problems with certain interpretations (mainly of rock art images) by Tung and/or Scaffidi (that are often absolute). The way they formulate their conclusions regarding rock art and related imagery proves that there is no room for another interpretation. (Too) often they do not express any doubt at all. A rock art related example concerns the beautifully inlaid Spondylus shell that has been illustrated in the dissertation by Scaffidi (2018: Fig. 8.41; my emphasis). Her caption reads “Pampas cat with club on spondylus”. But why not allowing for another – more likely – interpretation? To me the object may also depict a “Trophy” Head, which is even more expected in view of several Arequipa petroglyphs of felines carrying a “Trophy” Head (Van Hoek 2010, 2018; 2021a; 2021b; Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019). Tellingly, I have never seen a feline unambiguously carrying a club in Arequipa rock art.

Indeed, even the 2018-dissertation by Cassandra (Beth) Koontz Scaffidi (in this study referred to as Scaffidi 2018) has alarmingly many flaws and errors. Again, I am only (yet seriously) questioning her rock art “skills”, not her bio-archaeological reputation, although her reputation in general is – in my opinion – already damaged by several serious issues (as is – of course – the reputation of Tung and Turner and Streeter). Let me explain. The Scaffidi-dissertation deals with her excavations at Uraca, an archaeological site located immediately west of the Majes Valley (location marked in Figure 11). Although I have never visited Uraca, I am certain that Prof. Scaffidi made some remarkable, yet unsubstantiated remarks and made some serious mistakes in her dissertation (approved by four PhD’s, including Tung! How impressive!).

First of all, she claims that both the rock art sites of Toro Muerto and Alto de Pitis are visible from Uraca – Sector 1: “From the sector I tombs, there are direct lines of sight to Toro Muerto (Fig. 5.1) and the petroglyphs at Pitis, across the river”. To start with her Fig. 5.1. Indeed Toro Muerto is “visible” from Uraca, but the red “circle” in her Fig. 5.1 gives the false impression that the whole of Toro Muerto is visible, or, as she puts it: “Sector I is centrally-located, within an easy [?] walk and full view [?] of the Toro Muerto and Pitis petroglyphs …” (2018: 235; my emphasis and additions). In fact only an extremely small fraction of the south end of Toro Muerto “is visible” (the two very small areas due east of Line 3 in Figure 11). Therefore, I argue again that Toro Muerto is in fact completely blocked by Cerro Zuñimarca (Van Hoek 2021: 22) and thus I seriously doubt whether Uraca – Sector 1 was selected for the visibility reason. Numerous other locations in the Majes Valley would have been much more suitable.

Another issue deals with Alto de Pitis, but regarding this site there are more serious problems. Alto de Pitis is indeed “visible” from Uraca. However, did Scaffidi indeed visit Alto de Pitis, or not (my doubt also being expressed above)? She calls the site “Pitis”. I have fully surveyed the site several times and for that reason I have labelled the site Alto de Pitis (Van Hoek 2013), because the average height of this slightly undulating “platform” (measuring 4080 m from north [at 540 m asl] to south [at 450 m asl]) is about 500 m asl. The petroglyph illustrated by Tung and Scaffidi (2020: Fig. 3b) is found at 522 m asl, whereas the valley floor – due west – is at 395 m asl. Thus the stone in question is about 157 m above the valley floor. The distance between Uraca – Sector 1 and the centre of Alto de Pitis is 6635 m (Line 2 in Figure 11; the petroglyph illustrated by Tung and Scaffidi [2020: Fig. 3b] indicated by a yellow dot). Over such a distance, no (rocks with) petroglyphs can be detected. Consequently, only the direction in which Alto de Pitis is “visible” from Uraca – Sector 1 can be ascertained, however, only if you know where to look. And this latter remark introduces my next problem that I have with the dissertation by Scaffidi. She does not know where to look, as I will demonstrate.

Figure 11: The locations of several sites in the Majes Valley. Map © by Maarten van Hoek, based on Google Earth. Importantly, the red oval indicates – according to Beth Scaffidi (2018: Fig. 5.2) – the (otherwise incorrect) location of “Pitis”. The much larger area framed in yellow marks the correct location. Further explanations of lines and areas in the text of this Addendum. Click to enlarge.

In this respect it is very surprising that Scaffidi incorrectly locates “Pitis” 3853,50 m north of the 2020-Fig. 3b petroglyph (and even 2300 m north of the very northern tip of Alto de Pitis [Line 4 in Figure 11]). The Google Earth map of her Fig. 6.5 locates “Pitis” at 460 m asl. However, in fact the marker indicating “Pitis” on her Fig. 6.5 (the 1 km scale should not have been included) only locates the village of El Pedregal. The rock art site of Alto de Pitis is not even visible on her Fig. 6.5 (and the marker indicating Toro Muerto – indicated by a green dot in Figure 11 – is also seriously misleading)!

To make things worse, her photo of Fig. 5.2 indicates the rock art site of “Pitis” with a red “circle” (Figure 12), but again the “circle” only indicates the alluvial fan on which the village of El Pedregal is found. The rock art site of Alto de Pitis is – again – not even visible in her photo. Because of these inexcusable errors, I – again – wonder whether Scaffidi (or Tung, for that matter) ever visited Alto de Pitis (a site which is only – easily – accessible by car from the south, at a spot (on the main Arequipa – Corire road) which is in fact 5975 m south of her marker indicating “Pitis” in her Fig. 6.5.

Figure 12: The (incorrect) location of the rock art site of “Pitis” according to Scaffidi. Photograph and caption taken from Scaffidi (2018: Fig. 5.2).

I now wonder why Scaffidi makes such errors in her 2018-dissertation. She could have known the correct location of Alto de Pitis. A map indicating (most of) the rock art site was published by Álvarez Zeballos (2009: page 13; his illustrations are unnumbered). Moreover, also in my 2013-book are several maps indicating the exact location of the rock art site of Alto de Pitis (Van Hoek 2013: Figs. 3, 64 and 65). Did Scaffidi ignore all those published maps and information? If so, why? And why does she actually use the imprecise name “Pitis” (introduced by Núñez Jiménez 1986: 323 – 336), which refers to only a very small part of Alto de Pitis?

But there are more flaws regarding rock art in her 2018-dissertation. For instance on page 198 – discussing “placas pintadas”, though strangely not referring to the extensive publications about “placas pintadas” by Renate Farron-Bartels (2011a and b) – she writes: “Most of the stone offerings … were also geometric designs like at sector IIA, but more complex designs like anthropomorphic figures with bird wings (Fig. 5.36), are also present (my emphases)”. However the caption of her Fig. 5.36. reads: “Dancers wearing headdresses, Toro Muerto (Majes Valley)”, and the ignorant reader will in vain be looking for “wings”.

Finally, Scaffidi also writes in her dissertation (2018: 342; my additions, doubts and emphases): “For example, at Toro Muerto, one of the rock art scenes shows a feline [? see Van Hoek 2021] carrying a human trophy [head] from its mouth [by a carrying cord?] (Fig. 8.42). In the same image [on the same panel], a human tibia [?] situated upside-down [?], borders the scene, suggesting that trophy heads were used in other death rituals where human bones were accessed and manipulated.” First of all, her photo (2018: Fig. 8.42) does not show the whole panel and thus only the upper part of the purported “tibia” (but why not ulna or humerus?) is visible. For that reason it is virtually impossible for any reader to judge – having only an incomplete image – whether the (in my opinion unsubstantiated) interpretation of “tibia” (ulna or humerus?) is correct. Secondly, the petroglyph in question (Figure 13) shows a vertically oriented (not an upside-down image) sort of bar with two very short V-shaped extensions at each end (the lower end not shown in her Fig. 8.42). It is completely unknown to me what this petroglyph depicts (and what to think of the row of items at the bottom of this Toro Muerto panel? Are these things bones as well?). There are several more such enigmatic petroglyphs at Toro Muerto. In my opinion Scaffidi again jumps at a (completely unsubstantiated) conclusion, without expressing any doubt. Another case of “wishful thinking”? I seriously doubt whether the petroglyph depicts a human “tibia” and if I am right, her conclusions are premature as well. Mind you, I do not deny her the right to interpret a petroglyph as a “tibia”. That is freedom of speech. After all, she might be right, being specialised in investigating human bones (but definitely not in Majes rock art).

Figure 13: Parts of the panel at Toro Muerto showing the purported “feline” petroglyph and the purported “tibia” petroglyph below the feline. Photographs © by Maarten van Hoek. Click to enlarge.

However, what does not involve “freedom of speech” is claiming that the two “photos” published by Tung and Scaffidi (2020: Fig. 3) are correct (Figure 14). That is a downright lie. I convincingly demonstrated that the two images on their “photos” are incorrect and falsified (Van Hoek 2020). Therefore, I repeatedly asked for the two full-size, original unaltered photos and asked for an Erratum to be published. However, no photos and just a laughable “Erratum”.

Figure 14: The “photos” published by Prof. Tiffiny Tung and Prof. Beth Scaffidi (2020).

Any person who accepts that those two “photos” (superimposed by falsified “tracings”) show the petroglyphs correctly, supports and maintains the deceits by Scaffidi and Tung (and the lies by their editor, Prof. Trudy Turner and Mr. Streeter, the Publishing Director of Wiley).

Any person who maintains that the above “photos” are the original, unaltered photographs made in the field (by whom?), accepts and supports downright lies and scientifically unacceptable falsifications (which are obviously also accepted by their editor, Prof. Trudy Turner and Mr. Michael Streeter, the Publishing Director of Wiley). So far, one academic archaeologist reported to me that their four photos did not include the originals.

After a “fight” of 15 months (mainly with the authors and their editor, Prof. Dr. Trudy Turner) an “Erratum” was published in July 2022 (Van Hoek 2022d). However, the two photos in their Erratum both showed only altered photos (Figure 15). Moreover, in the short, completely irrelevant text of the “Erratum” (which only deals with the caption of their Fig. 3, not at all with the falsified “photos”) Tung and Scaffidi did not admit at all that their 2020 Fig. 3 “photos” showed the incorrect images. Tung, Scaffidi, Turner, Streeter and possibly (many?) more academics, prove to accept the publication of falsified material, an irrelevant “Erratum” and approve of downright lies. Such lies are being covered up (however, still inconveniently visible) by certain academics (hopefully not all), and – as usual – the messenger is being “beheaded”!



A Quote from Cicero’s Academic Treatises

somehow most men prefer to go wrong and to defend tooth and nail the opinions they are besotted with, rather than lay their obstinacy aside and seek for the most consistent views” (Cicero, quoted in Rawson 2002: 237). Although this citation understandably only refers to “men”, also women, like Tung, Scaffidi and Turner are considered by me “to go wrong”.

Cicero was beheaded in 43 B.C. because of his opinions and comments!


Figure 15: The D-stretched (thus not original) photos published in the completely irrelevant “Erratum” by Prof. Tiffiny Tung and Prof. Beth Scaffidi (2022).

Any person who maintains that the above photos – manipulated with D-Stretch – are their (?) original, unaltered photographs made in the field (by whom?), accepts and supports downright lies (lies also accepted, defended and supported by their editor, Prof. Trudy Turner and Mr. Michael Streeter, the Publishing Director of Wiley). So far, one academic archaeologist reported to me that their four photos did not include the originals and that their “Erratum” is meaningless.


I will end this Addendum by citing Scaffidi, who dedicates her dissertation:

“To those who live with the legacy of violence in all its forms

Cassandra (Beth) Koontz Scaffidi (2018: iii; my emphasis)

I regard ignoring a person (especially when there is in fact no legitimate reason) as a form of (sometimes extreme) violence. The – in my opinion – most serious and damaging form of child-abuse by parents, is when they intentionally and completely ignore their child for many, many years during its most vulnerable and important years of learning and socialising. I have been completely ignored by Tung and Scaffidi for more than ten years, since they did not respond to any of my emails after 2012 anymore (and I still do not know why)! All of a sudden they stopped our constructive communication, but – regarding rock art – they both continued to publish unreliable and even falsified rock art material, completely ignoring me and all my 2020-2022-publications. Therefore I am “glad” that the above dedication also involves me.

Note added on 27 August 2022: The following account (click the link) explains why Scaffidi and especially Tung unjustified ditched me in 2012.

 Many “thanks”, Beth, Tiffiny, Trudy, Michael etc. for … ignoring me!


References to the Addendum

The other References are found in the Beringa Section above.


Álvarez Zeballos, P. J. 2011. Petroglifos de Cantas, Pitis, La Mezana y La Laja; Valle de Majes. No longer accessible at Arqueología de Perú. PDF available via me.

Faron-Bartels, R. 2011a. Piedras votivas de Pampacolca. Nuevos datos sobre las lajas pintadas del sur del Perú. Inauguraldissertation zur Erlangung des Grades eines Doktors der Philosophie am Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften der Freien Universität Berlin. Berlin.

Faron-Bartels, R. 2011b. Piedras votivas de Pampacolca. Nuevos datos sobre las lajas pintadas del sur del Perú. Anexo. Inauguraldissertation zur Erlangung des Grades eines Doktors der Philosophie am Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften der Freien Universität Berlin. Berlin.

Rawson, E. 2002. Cicero. A Portrait. Eastbourne, UK.

Scaffidi (Koontz), C. (B). 2018. Networks of Violence: Bioarchaeological and Spatial Perspectives on Physical, Structural, and Cultural Violence in the Lower Majes Valley, Arequipa, Peru, in the Pre- and Early-Wari Eras. Dissertation. Vanderbilt University.

Scaffidi, B. K., G. D. Kamenov, A. E. Sharpe and J. Krigbaum. 2021. 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. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. PDF without page-numbers.

Scaffidi, B. and T. Tung. 2020. Endemic violence in a pre-Hispanic Andean community: A bioarchaeological study of cranial trauma from the Majes Valley, Peru. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 2020; pp. 1 – 24. PDF available at Academia.

Van Hoek. M. 2021. Contextualising the Unexpected Plethora of Feline Petroglyphs in the Majes Valley, Peru. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy.



Intentionally withholding essential information (like original photos) from a person, with the aim to cover up lies and deceits, is scientifically inappropriate and is ethically completely unacceptable.


That is what Prof. Scaffidi and Prof. Tung and their editor Prof. Turner and their publisher (Wiley) Mr. Streeter are doing.


Even after several legitimate requests to share the original Majes photos with me, I am completely ignored by Prof. Scaffidi and Prof. Tung and the editor Prof. Turner and their publisher (Wiley) Mr. Streeter, and thus I am denied to see the original Majes photos that would reveal the inconvenient truth.


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