A Study of Boulder AP3-065 – Peru

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This paper presents the fifth case in my series of articles in which I discuss a selection of petroglyph boulders at Alto de Pitis, in the Majes Valley of southern Peru. It especially discusses a controversial petroglyph of an anthropomorph that has been interpreted in two most different ways. One rendering of the figure is questioned in this study (updated September 2023).

By Maarten van Hoek



A Study of Boulder AP3-065 – Alto de Pitis

Majes Valley, Southern Peru


Maarten van Hoek



This paper presents the fifth case in my series of articles in which I discuss a selection of petroglyph boulders at Alto de Pitis (Figure 1). The selected boulders have a range of idiosyncratic petroglyphs belonging to the so-called Majes Rock Art Style (MRAS). During several surveys my wife Elles and I documented over 400 boulders with petroglyphs at Alto de Pitis This study focusses on one specific boulder at Alto de Pitis, Boulder AP3-065, a rather large block of stone, which features – on its north facing Panel A – a large anthropomorphic petroglyph which is key in a discussion regarding the interpretation of the layout of an illustration published by Scaffidi and Tung (2020: Fig. 3). After having described and illustrated the two panels of Boulder AP3-065, I will comment on the illustration published by Scaffidi and Tung, also by providing and my photos and drawing of the petroglyph.

Figure 1: Location of Alto de Pitis in the Central Majes Valley, southern Peru. Map © by Maarten van Hoek, based on the map © by OpenStreetMap – Contributors.

Click on an illustration to see an enlargement. Open the enlargement in a new window to see an even better visible illustration.


Boulder AP3-065: Location

The whole rock art complex of Alto de Pitis measures about 4000 m from south to north by about 700 m maximum from west to east. Based on our surveys, I have divided the rock art site of Alto de Pitis into four Sectors, labelled (from south to north) AP1 to AP4 (Figure 2A). Boulder AP3-065 is located near the centre of Sector AP3 (at 16°15’38.54″ S and 72°26’38.41″ W in Google Earth 2023). The medium-sized boulder is found at an altitude of 522 m asl, some 566 m due east of the steep cliff bordering the east bank of the valley. Directly west of the steep cliff the valley floor is found at 400 m, while the River Majes – further west – is at about 390 m. Thus Boulder AP3-065 is found some 122 m above the valley floor. East of the site rises a series of high hills (highest point at Cerro Gentilar, at 1435 m asl; see Figure 4A) completely blocking all views to the east. Views to the east also include the important concentration of rock art at the Hill Top Group (Figures 2 and 4A). Views to the north (including Apu Coropuna; see Figure 4B) and west (including Toro Muerto) are extensive, while the views to the southeast and south only offer prospects of the undulating plateau of Alto de Pitis and the wall of hills beyond.

Figure 2. Location of Boulder AP3-065 at Alto de Pitis (PC is Punta Colorada). Maps © by Maarten van Hoek, based on Google Earth.


Recordings before 2009

There is some controversy about who first reported Alto de Pitis. In 2009 academic archaeologist Paúl Álvarez Zeballos claimed to have been the first archaeologist to have reported this site. However, it is certain that his claim is false. Several other researchers visited Alto de Pitis much earlier than 2000 (Álvarez Zeballos published photos dated 2000) and some of those researchers also published photographs and records of the site.

According to Eloy Linares Málaga (1990: 158-159), the petroglyph site of (Alto de) Pitis was (first?) reported to him by José Medina in 1951. Additionally, Linares Málaga (1990: 165) also published a photograph of a petroglyph panel at Alto de Pitis, taken by Eberhard Schön as early as 1957. However, in an even earlier publication Walter Krickeberg (1949) mentioned a site called “Pitas (Pitis), Cerro Colorado in Majes, Vitór road, Aplao in the Department of Arequipa” (Linares Málaga 1978: 379). Conversely, Linares Málaga (1978: 379) rejected the claim by Krickeberg, and yet I am certain that Krickeberg correctly referred to the rock art site of Alto de Pitis, which is located directly opposite Punta Colorada (Van Hoek 2022a: Fig. 2).

I now wonder how Krickeberg had been informed about the petroglyphs of Pitis, or, as he called the site, Pitas. This puzzle is unravelled by an old photograph in the possession of the National Geographic Society (Picture Id: 602411 in http://www.nationalgeographicstock.com/). This very photo notably proves that the well-known explorer Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu, visited and recorded Alto de Pitis as early as 1911 (Van Hoek 2013: Fig. 16).

Moreover, a drawing of an important petroglyph at Alto de Pitis (Panel AP3-142; overlooking the valley and Toro Muerto) was illustrated in a publication by Von Däniken in 1970 (yet erroneously claimed by him to be located at Toro Muerto; URL). Several years later Antonio Núñez Jiménez (1986) recorded Sectors AP1 and AP3 of the southern part of Alto de Pitis; called Sarcas and Pitis by him (Núñez Jiménez did not survey Sector AP3 and Sector AP4 and thus he did not see Boulder AP3-065). By claiming to have been the first to record Alto de Pitis, Paúl Jofrey Álvarez Zeballos thus ignored the important roles of Eloy Linares Málaga and of Antonio Núñez Jiménez and others. If I was able to find out this information on the internet, then Álvarez Zeballos should have done the same before publishing his claim.


Recordings after 2009

As I have not been able to find an illustration of Boulder AP3-065 dating from before 2009, it seems acceptable that Álvarez Zeballos was the first researcher who published a photograph and a short description (in Spanish) of Boulder AP3-065 (Panel A shamefully chalked-in by him). It also seems that Álvarez Zeballos – untruthfully claiming that he was the first to record Boulder AP3-065 – did not notice the possible date of 1970, 1978 or 1979 that was drawn on the boulder (the last numeral being doubtful), which is also visible in his 2009-photograph (illustration – unnumbered – having the following caption: Fig. De panel nº 1 de P-ps8).

Guided by the publication by Álvarez Zeballos (2009), my wife and I visited Alto de Pitis several times in the period of 2009 to 2012 and many of the observations made during those surveys have been compiled in my publication about the rock art in the Majes Valley; the Death Valley of the Andes (Van Hoek 2013), as well as in many other publications (see my Bibliography). In the period of 2009 to 2012 my wife and I also recorded the petroglyphs on Boulder AP3-065 and took several photographs of its two panels (Panel A still showing unacceptable traces of chalk at that time). Also, in 2010 I published a paper about “Trophy” Heads in the Majes Valley (and beyond), which included my drawing and description of the anthropomorphic figure on Panel AP3-065A (Van Hoek 2010: 11; Fig. 8).

After 2012 at least three more illustrations of Panel AP3-065A were scientifically published. The first instance was published in a book of mine (Van Hoek 2013: 122; Fig. 139; see Figure 6). The second concerns an illustration published by academic bio-archaeologists Prof. Beth Scaffidi and Prof. Tiffiny Tung (2020: Fig. 3b), who – in their caption – refer to their Fig. 3 as a photograph, but my  “ ”  indicate that I reject their illustration to be a photograph, which will be evident after having scanned and compared their illustration and my illustrations). The third example (published by Scaffidi and Tung in their Erratum) will be discussed later. After their 2020-publication, the illustration by Scaffidi and Tung and renderings thereof were published and re-published several times. As the layouts of the anthropomorphic petroglyph on Panel AP3-065A in their “photograph” and in my illustrations disagree too much, this study will primarily focus on those too much differing layouts (see Figures 6 and 9). In this study I claim again that their image of the anthropomorph on Panel AP3-065A is demonstrably incorrect.

Figure 3. A: Petroglyph on Boulder TM-Da-032 at Toro Muerto, and B: the large anthropomorphic figure on Panel AP3-065A at Alto de Pitis. Drawings © by Maarten van Hoek; based on the illustration by Scaffidi and Tung (2020: Fig. 3). It is a fact (and I will demonstrate that again) that their 2020-Fig. 3 presents incorrect information!


Boulder AP3-065: the Panels

Boulder AP3-065 is a rather large block of volcanic stone that has become severely weathered and – especially – eroded (mainly by the often strong and blasting winds from the south). As a result several parts of the boulder have been exfoliated, especially the right part of Panel A. Panel A faces in some NW direction, while Panel B faces more or less to the SE (all bearings are approximated; no scales are available). What is important is that from Boulder AP3-065 the Sacred Mountain of Apu Coropuna (the highest volcano in Peru) is clearly visible, on a clear day, of course (Figure 4B). I will now first discuss the petroglyphs on Panel B.

Figure 4. Views from Boulder AP3-065. Photographs © by Maarten van Hoek.


Boulder AP3-065 – Panel B

Panel B has an exfoliated right part, a strongly wind-eroded and weathered left part and a better visible central part. On the left part are some petroglyphs that are only visible with great difficulty, possibly including some doubtful pecked grooves (green dots in Figure 5), a long groove extending onto the central part (blue dots), a short zigzag (orange dot), a rather dubious Majes “Dancer” (5) and a Majes “Spitter” (2). The right part has a few small petroglyphs that are hard to classify (yellow dots).

Figure 5. Panel AP3-065B. Photographs © by Maarten van Hoek.

The central part is dominated by two Majes “Spitters” – drawn almost vertically – that seem to be copulating (1 in Figure 5). Similar scenes are found at Toro Muerto. Hovering over this group is a row of possibly three petroglyphs of Majes “Dancers” (3), all rather poorly executed. Below the “copulating” “Spitters” is a fully pecked petroglyph that possibly depicts a bird which sits on a “pole”; a short vertically arranged groove (4). There also are some minor petroglyphs (some hardly visible) including at least one small, fully pecked quadruped near the “bird”.


Boulder AP3-065 – Panel A

Panel A (Figure 6) has only very few petroglyphs, first described by Álvarez Zeballos (2009: 34). He mentions “una persona en posición de saludo”, which means that he describes the anthropomorphic figure to have one arm raised in the purported “saluting” position (which of course is a western-minded interpretation that may well be [in]correct). Importantly, Álvarez Zeballos also noted “… sus orejas [plural], en su rostro sus ojos y en estos los diseños de “lagrimones”…” (2009: my emphases and addition), which means that the ears and the eyes – each with a short “tear-element” – are visible. Because of the diagonal lines across the body, Álvarez Zeballos interprets the whole as some kind of garment (“hunco”). Importantly, Álvarez Zeballos does not interpret the drooping right arm with the outlined hand with four short, parallel lines (digits) to hold a “Trophy” Head.

Having inspected the boulder myself, I described the central figure as follows (Van Hoek 2010: 11; Fig. 8): “On panel AP3-065A is a rather large petroglyph of a frontally depicted anthropomorphic figure with a raised left arm with an empty left hand positioned in a severely damaged/weathered area (Figure 8). The oval-shaped right hand has four parallel lines from the ‘chin-area’ that could either be fingers or represent hair. There are some faint markings inside the hand/head that could represent facial features. It is not at all certain that a ‘trophy’ head carrier has been intended here, especially as the much larger head is rectangular showing many distinct details such as eyes with ‘tears’, an open mouth, a nose and circular ears, the whole giving the impression that the anthropomorph is wearing the mask of a bear.” (Van Hoek 2010: 11; my emphases). Scanning my photos again while preparing this study, I am not certain about the nose-element being present anymore. Therefore, the “nose” is better ignored.

Figure 6. Panel AP3-065A. Estimated height 80 cm. Photograph © by Maarten van Hoek.

On Panel A are also some minor petroglyphs: some five indeterminable small pecked or abraded areas (possibly more recent); one small pecked or abraded quadruped; a small “ladder-like” petroglyph, and – almost touching (but in fact definitely not touching) the anthropomorph – a larger figure comprising a rather broad horizontal pecked groove with three (not four) shorter vertical grooves attached; the whole possibly representing an (unfinished?) simple quadruped (if a head were ever present, it is at the moment hard to discern in the eroded part).


Discussing AP3-065A

When – in 2020 – I read a publication by Prof. Beth Scaffidi and Prof. Tiffiny Tung (2020) and scanned their Fig. 3a/b, I was struck by the differences in their illustration compared with my own observations in the field and with my photographs of the figure. Moreover, based on their illustration they claim that the petroglyphs at Toro Muerto express an obsession with aggression and that various images depict a therianthrope (a halfhuman, half-animal figure; Fig. 3a) said to hold a “Trophy” Head by the hair. They also claimed that their Fig. 3b depicts a cat having a “Trophy” Head held by the hair, but there is no cat visible in their Fig. 3b. In fact it depicts the large anthropomorphic figure on Panel AP3-65A at Alto de Pitis (see Figure 6). And also their interpretation of “hair” is questionable. In my opinion it is better interpreted as a hanging cord. It thus proves that their text fragment contains questionable observations. The petroglyph on Boulder TM-Da-032 at Toro Muerto (their Fig. 3a) has already been fully discussed by me. Therefore I now focus on the anthropomorphic petroglyph on Panel AP3-065A.

Important in view of this study are their further remarks, which specifically refer to the anthropomorph on Panel AP3-065A (their Fig. 3b), which they interpret as a warrior holding a “Trophy” Head (Scaffidi and Tung 2020: 7), referring to Núñez Jiménez (1986) and also to my publication (Van Hoek 2010; see Fig. 2); both publications having correct illustrations of the petroglyph at Toro Muerto. My illustration of AP3-065A appears in Van Hoek 2010: Fig. 8.

After the publication of my 2020-paper (accessed November 28 2020 by Scaffidi), I lengthily discussed their illustration with Justin Jennings (academic archaeologist from the University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology of the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada). I already have published several papers and books (Van Hoek: publications; please note that several URLs are no longer working) in which I argued that the illustration by Scaffidi and Tung (2020: Fig. 3) is incorrect, which is confirmed by Justin Jennings (a colleague of Scaffidi and Tung) who wrote to me: “I suspect that your [Van Hoek’s] interpretation of the rock art is correct. There does not appear to be a weapon in the hand of the one figure as interpreted and the authors should have noted in thier caption that they were manipulating the image by retracing over it digitally to (in thier minds) enhance its readability.” (Justin Jennings, 18 November 2020: pers. comm.; my emphases and addition). I answered Justin that I did not at all agree with his suggestion that the “retracing over” was done to “enhance its readability”. Fortunately, it was a remark in Scaffidi et al. (2022: Fig. 2) that – several months later – proved me right! Explaining this situation is rather complicated, but I will try (see also Note 5).

Scaffidi’s remark can be read in a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory (2022: Vol. 29, published online: 5 May 2021); more specifically in the caption of her Fig. 2 (Figure 7; see also Figure 7 in the Appendix), in which she writes that their Fig 2a and [referring to AP3-065!] their Fig. 2c have been D-Stretched in order to make the petroglyphs more legible (Scaffidi et al. 2022: Fig. 2; Appendix Figure 7). It is important to note that Scaffidi published her 2021-2022 paper and the caption of their Fig. 2 after she had read (and referred to!) my 2020-paper (without ever refuting my 2020-claims!), in which I prove that their 2020 – Fig. 3 is incorrect! Her remark of “more legible” is key in this discussion (but also see Note 5)!

Figure 7. See the Appendix at the end of this study to see the relevant map (Figure 7).

First of all, her map (see Figure 7 on page 15) is not complete and has several flaws (explained in Van Hoek 2023a: 71), and secondly, the photos in her Fig. 2 are far too small to be properly legible. Fortunately, in 2022 Tung and Scaffidi also used the same, yet larger D-Stretch photo in their “Erratum”, published in July 2022! And it is that D-Stretch photo – together with Scaffidi’s remark of “more legible” – that proves that their illustration is incorrect! Moreover, it is important in this discussion to realise that the original photos of their 2020: Fig. 3 (which were never made available to me) and the D-Stretch version were all made before July 2019!

If the original photo of their Fig. 3 had been D-Stretch-enhanced only in order to make that photograph “more legible” then it is inexplicable that I can see details in their D-Stretch photo (large format photo available here: WILEY) that apparently have been ignored and/or altered by Scaffidi and Tung in their 2020-Fig. 3 illustration (Fig. 3b). Because Scaffidi and Tung apparently ignored those important details, it proves that the rather well legible D-Stretch photo of Panel AP3-065A (“Erratum”b) was ignored, yet then manipulated (a term used by Justin Jennings; see above) in order to be able to suggest in their publication that a (non-existent!) weapon (a spear or shield) is visible in the petroglyph on Panel AP3-065A (Figure 6).

Figure 8. I had to delete my Figures 3, (7; see however page 15) and 8 because Scaffidi rightly objected to its publication: see Note 4. A: The D-Stretch photo published by Scaffidi and Tung in their 2022-“Erratum”; B: The illustration – based on that D-Stretch photo – clearly incorrectly manipulated and yet submitted by Scaffidi and Tung before July 2019.

Figure 9. Two drawings of the large anthropomorph on Panel AP3-065A; drawings © by Maarten van Hoek. A: based on the illustration published by Scaffidi and Tung (2020: Fig. 3b). B: my drawing of the figure (based on my Figure 6), first published by me (Van Hoek 2010: Fig. 8; accessed May 5 2015 by Beth Scaffidi). The elements marked with a “?” are now questioned by me to really represent parts of the petroglyph. The several differences between their illustration and my drawing (numbered in Figure 9A) are explained in the text below.

In Figure 9B Element 8 has been omitted by me, since I never considered it to be part of the anthropomorphic figure (in my opinion Element 8 is not a shield or a spear, as suggested by Scaffidi and Tung [2020]), especially as Element 8 is not connected to the figure [5] and is moreover differently pecked out (hinting at a later addition?), compared with the (possibly pecked-abraded) anthropomorph.


The differences. Their D-Stretch photo (WILEY-b) (faintly) shows two tears (1) that have either been overlooked or omitted in their illustration (Figure 9A-1). Yet those tears have been mentioned by Álvarez Zeballos (2009) and are visible in my 2010-drawing (Figure 9B), yet – although referred to by Scaffidi and Tung (see Note 2) – my drawing and description were apparently ignored by them. Similarly, the two ears (2) have been omitted/ignored, as well as the left raised arm (3) and the outlined left hand (4; the two short diagonal grooves are now questioned by me; hence the ??); the two outlined feet (6) and one single line on the thorax (9).

All those missing features are visible in their D-Stretch photo, yet apparently ignored, even when those items have been mentioned and photographed by Álvarez Zeballos (2009) and are visible in my 2010-drawing (Figure 9B). They also added two distinct dots (in a way suggesting eyes) in the outlined right hand (7) that – in my opinion – definitely are not there (just a few random [anthropic?] markings). Finally, Scaffidi and Tung connect Element 8 with the anthropomorph (5), while in fact Element 8 is not connected to the anthropomorph (that fact is also clearly visible in their D-Stretch photo, which I am not allowed to publish here; hence the hyperlinks)!

Their Mis-Readings: Based on their incorrect illustration, Scaffidi et al. (2022; but see Note 1 at the end) claim that the right hand holds a “Trophy” Head (thus ignoring my 2010-doubt) and moreover that Element 8 represents the left arm holding a spear or shield. However, Element 7 is at the most a questionable “Trophy” Head, while – in my opinion – Element 8 definitely is not an arm and also not a spear or shield (not even a possible weapon). Consequently, also their textual conclusions are misleading, being based on a demonstrably incorrect illustration (surprisingly based on their correct yet ignored D-Stretch photo), and thus the figure cannot be unambiguously identified as a warrior (although it might be a warrior; I simply do not know)!

My question is now: Why did Scaffidi claim that the D-Stretch photos (“Erratum”) were made to make the petroglyphs more legible (Scaffidi et al. 2022: Fig. 2), while several details in their easily legible D-Stretch photo (“Erratum”b) were ignored by her, resulting in an incorrect illustration (Fig. 3b): a completely different design of the anthropomorph, the white lines (“tracings”, according to their Erratum) of which were ultimately digitally retraced over (superimposed upon) the original photo, while other doubtful details (Elements 5 and 7 in Figure 9A) seem to have been added? It is obvious to me that Scaffidi and Tung used their illustration (see Fig. 3b; which is obviously not based on their D-Stretch photo), only to justify a series of completely incorrect and unsubstantiated claims regarding Majes rock art; only to boost their “violence” theories (while I demonstrated that factual violence is not shown in Majes rock art).

Scaffidi’s overconfidence regarding Majes rock art is also evidenced by several issues presented by her in the text of her Note 3 (Scaffidi et al. 2022: Note 3; see my Note 5), when she writes (I do not quote her, but use my own words!) that the figure on Panel AP3-86A holds a “Trophy” Head in the right hand [1] and that it was me who once argued that it only depicts a hand [2]. Another remark is also surprising, because she writes that she and her team did not trace the petroglyph on Panel AP3-065A at Alto de Pitis [3]. She further argues that the multiple images illustrated in her 2022-Fig. 2 (Figure 7) [4] show that it mainly is the right hand that holds a “Trophy” Head [5], the resemblance of this head [6] and the sheer number of “Trophy” Heads in the area [7] demonstrate that it is more likely that the figure is holding a “Trophy” Head. However, there are too many questionable observations in her Note 3.

Of course, every researcher is free to express his or her own version, but [1] the interpretation by Scaffidi is – above all – based on a demonstrably incorrect illustration (see Figure 9A), and in particular on her presentation of the right hand that – according to her incorrect illustration – features two distinct (yet non-existent) dots, intentionally placed as if they were eyes. In my opinion there are no such dots (see Figure 6), and thus no eyes! Also for that reason  I  did not “argue” anything [2], but I clearly expressed my doubt when I tentatively suggested that “not only” a hand, but also a “Trophy” Head could have been intended (Van Hoek 2010).

Moreover, her Fig. 2 (see Figure 7 in the Appendix) includes only seven small photographs of Arequipa “Trophy” Heads [4] (of the 138 examples in the area), one of which (in Caravelí) is doubtful; three concern zoomorphs, and only two concern “Trophy” Head Carriers, including the one on Panel AP3-065A. The statistics thus leave only ONE certain example of a person with a “Trophy” Head [5] in the right hand, instead of the sheer number [7] of “Trophy” Heads in the area.

Scaffidi also ignored the similarity of the purported “Trophy” Head, or rather of the right hand to the left hand; the latter apparently not noticed by her in her D-Stretch photo (“Erratum”b; see also Figure 9). She thus ignored my 2010-drawing (2010: Fig. 8; see Figure 9B), which clearly shows the left arm-hand. It is a fact that on “May 5 2015” she accessed my 2010-paper and thus I suppose that she has seen all my 2010-drawings (apparently all ignored)! By the way, in my 2010-paper Scaffidi is also supposed have seen the two “Trophy” Head Carriers at Toro Muerto that hold their “Trophy” Head in the left hand (see also some more instances in Jennings, Van Hoek et al. 2019: Fig. 25; a publication Scaffidi et al. refer to as well [2022: 434]).

Scaffidi moreover missed the similarity of the (unusual) outlined hands (plural) on Panel AP3-065A – and of the (unusual) outlined rectangular feet (which are lacking in their Fig. 3 illustration; see Figure 9A) – with similar outlined hands and feet apparently only (?) depicted in “Carcancha” petroglyphs in Arequipa rock art (many illustrated in Van Hoek 2013). Having reviewed my own publications and re-scanned my illustrations, I now doubt even more whether the right hand of the anthropomorph (in my opinion definitely not a warrior) depicts a “Trophy” Head. In my opinion a hand is still far more likely. And I am more inclined to interpret (yet not claiming) the figure to represent a “Carcancha”, with its typical “saluting” posture and the emblematic outlined hands and feet (lacking a convincing rib-cage, though).



It is now a fact that before July 2019 Prof. Scaffidi and Prof. Tung got hold of a photo of Panel AP3-065A, which – in their opinion – was not sufficiently legible to interpret. Therefore, a D-Stretch photo was made (before July 2019), the results of which were accepted to be better legible (Scaffidi’s own words: 2022: Fig. 2) and yet Scaffidi and Tung did not use that “better legible” D-Stretch photo and published a demonstrably incorrect illustration instead. Why? Maybe because the original did not support their “war[rior]” theories? Instead Scaffidi and Tung preferred to produce (however, see Note 3) – before July 2019 ! – an incorrect illustration of the anthropomorph on Panel AP3-065A, which they published in January 2020 (Fig. 3b).

Also Prof. Trudy Turner (the Editor of their 2020-paper) and Michel Streeter (of Publishing Company Wiley) never acknowledged that Scaffidi and Tung submitted an incorrect illustration (their Fig. 3)!  If  they still deny – after having read this study – that Fig. 3 by Scaffidi and Tung (2020) is an incorrect illustration, also leading to incorrect conclusions regarding Majes rock art, then they seem not to care too much about the integrity of their Journal and the Publishing Company.

My fundamental points of criticisms are: Why would Scaffidi and Tung publish in their 2020-paper a demonstrably incorrect illustration of Panel AP3-065A (compare Fig. 3b; “Erratum”b with Figure 9A), when in the same 2020-paper they refer to a publication with the correct drawing (Van Hoek 2010: Fig. 8)? Why would anybody ignore a correct illustration and still publish a demonstrably incorrect illustration instead? Why creating a D-Stretch photo before July 2019? Because their original photo was not legible enough? Why then not publishing their D-Stretch photo and ignoring that acceptable photo instead? Why then submitting a completely different and demonstrably incorrect illustration of the petroglyph? By referring to my 2010-paper and yet ignoring my correct drawing and moreover not using their own correct D-Stretch photo, they discard my efforts in creating a correct drawing and deny my expertise of Majes rock art in general, which is unprofessional. Concluding, by publishing their incorrect Fig. 3b, and their incorrect conclusions (based on their Fig. 3), their 2020-publication proves – in my opinion – to be misleading (only regarding the rock art part).



Note 1: In this study I mainly refer to Scaffidi et al. 2022, but I must emphasise here that I only hold Prof. Scaffidi responsible for all rock art related errors in that paper. Her co-authors are in no way accountable, as Scaffidi also confirms in her “Author Contribution”. Therefore, I hereby exclude academics Sharpe, Kamenov and Krigbaum from any of my criticisms, also because I doubt very much whether Sharpe, Kamenov or Krigbaum have ever visited the (relevant) rock art sites of the Majes Valley. Their revisions will therefore only concern their bio-archaeological contributions, which I accept as being correct.

Note 2: Scaffidi and Tung (2020) refer in their text to my publication (Van Hoek 2010), but incorrectly included that publication in their References Section (2020: 23). It read: “Van Hoek, M. (2010). ‘Trophy’ heads in the rock art of the Majes Valley, Perú: Exploring their possible origin. In Rupestreweb. http://www.rupestreweb.info/carancha.html”. Note the incorrect spelling of “carancha”, which should read “carcancha” (which will lead to a different publication at Rupestreweb). In fact, it proved that even the URL included in their References Section is incorrect, as it should read: https://www.rupestreweb.info/trophy.html! Including an URL is often only a simple matter of copying and pasting! Any reader using the incorrect link, will be frustrated not being able to access my paper.

Note 3: In their paper Scaffidi and Tung thanked Gamma Wave Media (Myke Scaffidi) for creating the petroglyph line drawings (2020: 19; my emphases). There are no line drawings of any petroglyph in the 2020 – Scaffidi – Tung publication; only the “photograph” with the drawings of two incorrectly depicted petroglyphs superimposed! Even if Myke Scaffidi created Fig. 3, only Scaffidi and Tung are always responsible for their publication. That is a fact!

Note 4: In this paper I originally had included three illustrations published by Scaffidi in her 2018-thesis and 2022-paper. Those illustrations are more informative than the alternatives that I prepared for my revision of my “Trophy” Head Book, where – for instance – the map by Scaffidi has now been replaced by my own map (Van Hoek 2023a: Fig. 64). Why taking all the trouble to publish a revision? Because on July 31, 2023 – after the publication of my comments on Scaffidi’s 2018-thesis (on the 1st of July 2023 in TRACCE) – Scaffidi demanded a takedown of several of my publications posted at ResearchGate using her illustrations and other items on which her copyright rests. She did so without having the decency to contact/inform me in advance (which is recommended by ResearchGate). In fact Scaffidi abruptly stopped her email-communication with me without any good reason after 2012 – simultaneously breaking her promise to help me with Majes rock art – and she never reacted to any of my emails to her after 2012. I apologise to Scaffidi to have infringed her copyright, which I have done under the (obviously naïve) impression that the way I used her illustrations was correct, always properly providing the source. I have revised all issues (or will be going to), but nevertheless I decided to use her Fig. 2 (Scaffidi et al. 2022) in this study (see the Appendix).

Yet I still believe in the following: he or she who publishes, can be commented on. Therefore I now offer the interested reader this completely revised version of my paper on Boulder AP3-065, without using any of her illustrations (an exception is Figure 7; see the Appendix) and without quoting her (just to be safe). Instead I have formulated her remarks differently (please excuse any error in my English, which will never be as perfect as Scaffidi’s). I apologise to anyone for any error or inconsistency in my revisions, and for the inconvenience this situation may have caused.

Note 5: Most important is the fact that – during almost three years after 2020 – Scaffidi and Tung never refuted my claims (published in Van Hoek 2020). Remarkably, in her 2021/2022 paper Scaffidi even refers to my 2020-paper (2022: Note 3; see page 11 in this study) and includes my 2020-paper in her References (2022: 473), without – in her 2022-paper-  refuting my claim that she and Tung published incorrect information. Thus, my claims that they published two incorrect illustrations and incorrect information (based on those illustrations) must be correct. Finally and importantly there are no weapons on the two petroglyph panels, which has been confirmed by Justin Jennings in our communication about the illustrations.



There remains one © problem to be rectified. On July 31, 2023  – after the publication of my “Majes Rock Art” paper (published on the 1st of July 2023 in TRACCE; now revised) – Scaffidi demanded a general takedown of my publications – posted at ResearchGate – in which I used a couple of her illustrations and other items on which her copyright rests. Although she was right in this case, she did so without having the decency to contact me personally in advance (which is advised by ResearchGate). This takedown also concerned a map (Scaffidi et al. 2022: Fig. 2; however see Note 1). At first I intended to omit her Fig. 2 in this study as well (my Figure 7). However, in August 2023, re-reading her paper (Scaffidi et al. 2022: 470) I noticed the following remarks about “Open Access”, which permits me to use her map – Fig. 2 – after all:

Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

It now proves that initially I failed to give all the appropriate credits. I correctly mentioned the source, but did not provide a link to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ and also I failed to mention that I made changes to the map of her Fig. 2. As in her caption of her Fig. 2 no credit line to the material was provided (in fact there is no mention of any source of the map at all, neither of photos f and g), I now will re-post in this study the map (including my additions and her caption) together with my – now updated – caption (see next page). Scaffidi’s remark of “more legible” in the caption is decisive in this study.

Figure 7. Map of west Arequipa, also showing the (far too) small D-Stretch photo of Panel AP3-065A (“c” on the map above). Map and caption published by Scaffidi et al. (2022: Fig. 2; additions in red made by me under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). I apologise for any inconvenience caused by the inconsistent position of this Figure 7.


Final Conclusions

This study serves two objectives. My first goal was to offer the interested reader a description of the petroglyphs on Boulder AP3-065, simultaneously providing clear photos, especially of the large anthropomorphic figure on Panel A (Figure 6). My second goal was to offer my comments on all published illustrations depicting in some way the large anthropomorphic petroglyph on Panel AP3-065A.

The first illustration commented on concerns the photo by Álvarez Zeballos (2009) that offers a correct impression, but the panel proves to have been chalked-in; a practice that I absolutely disapprove of. The second and third illustrations concern respectively my own drawing and photograph (Van Hoek 2010; 2013), of which my drawing is slightly inaccurate regarding some – otherwise irrelevant – details (see the “??” in Figure 9B). The fourth illustration concerns the D-Strech photo apparently created by either Scaffidi or Tung before July 2019 (and published by Scaffidi and Tung in their 2022 “Erratum”; also by Scaffidi et al. 2022: Fig. 2), which I cannot fault at all. Although I cannot fault that D-Strech photo, I will never accept that it represents the original photo of the panel (the original photo was – as far as I know – never published anywhere, or – tellingly for that matter – never shared with me). The final version concerns the incorrect illustration published by Scaffidi and Tung (2020: Fig. 3), factually criticised by me in this study.

In this study I demonstrated that – in 2019 – Scaffidi and Tung decided to publish their two illustrations (2020: Fig. 3) of which they should have realised that they are incorrect. In their 2020-paper they refer to my 2010-paper, which offer the correct drawings, and yet those illustrations have not been taken in account by them. That may have had a reason. Perhaps it concerns the same reason why (in the period of 2020 up to September 2023) they never refuted my 2020-claims. Therefore, I again claim that their 2020 – Fig. 3 is incorrect and that the rock art related conclusions based on their incorrect illustrations are incorrect too. I now leave it to the (hopefully unbiased) reader to judge who is honest in this case and who is not.



I am grateful to my wife Elles for her much appreciated assistance at all the rock art sites that we visited together, and of course her continuing support at home.



Álvarez Zeballos, P. J. 2009. Petroglifos de Cantas, Pitis, La Mezana y La Laja; Valle de Majes. In: Arqueología de Perú.

Krickeberg, W. 1949. Felsplastik und Felsbilder bei den Kulturvölkern Altamerikas mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Mexicos. Palmen Verlag, Berlin.

Linares Málaga, E. 1978. Prehistory and Petroglyphs in Southern Peru. In: Advances in Andean Archaeology. David L. Browman (ed). pp 371 – 392. Cambridge University Press.

Linares Málaga, E. 1999. Arte Rupestre en Sudamerica Prehistoria. Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Lima, Perú.

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 (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. PDF also uploaded onto Academia by Scaffidi.

Scaffidi, B. K., G. D. Kamenov, A. E. Sharpe and J. Krigbaum. 2022 (2021 online). 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. Vol. 29; pp. 426 – 479. PDF.

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. 2010. “Trophy” Heads in the rock art of the Majes Valley, Perú: exploring their possible origin. In: Rupestreweb (accessed July 2023 by me; accessed May 5 2015 by Beth Scaffidi).

Van Hoek, M. 2013. The Carcancha and the Apu. Rock Art in the Death Valley of the Andes. Book (full text and fully illustrated) available as PDF only at ResearchGate.                                                

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

Van Hoek, M. 2022a. Rock Art at Punta Colorada, Majes, Peru – An Update. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy.

Van Hoek. M. 2023a. “Trophy” Heads in the Rock Art of North and South America”. Book (revised version) available as PDF only at ResearchGate. Accessed by Beth Scaffidi on the 26th of July 2023.

Van Hoek, M. 2023b. The “Camelines” of Toro Muerto; Majes Valley, Peru. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy. Revised version.

Van Hoek, M. 2023c. Majes Rock Art: Evaluating Scaffidi’s 2018-Thesis. In: TRACCE – Online Rock Art Bulletin, Italy. Revised version.

Von Däniken, E. 1970. Return to the stars. Souvenir Press, London.

One comment

  1. Clifford C. Richey says:

    Thank you for your persistence in monitoring the credibility of the petroglyph’s location and imagery. Those doing research in those areas will need the best possible information.

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