Phoenician symbols engraved on Patagonian rocks. Native or Semitic art?
See Index on all my posts on Phoenicians in America.
(See my post on this "horse-like cryptid").
And this image, which I already posted before when I mentioned the Phoenician-Patagonian connection for the first time:
If the title of today's post surprised you, well, that was my intention. I had already mentioned in a previous post that I would delve in this weird subject: Phoenicians or Hebrews in Pre-Hispanic Patagonia.
I posted those images of objects which, are all (except one, the "Dama de Comodoro") actually exhibited at the Museo Salesiano, at Rawson, in the Province of Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina. The "Dama de Comodoro" was at a museum in the town of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, and, which apparently has disappered.
Tehuelche engraved rocks and sculptures
I came across those images while looking for Tehuelche sculptures. I have already posted in January 2010, on a Cryptid, strange animal - Tehuelchense art, which I photographed and saw at the Museo Perito Moreno at Bariloche, in Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina.
Now, the engraved rocks shown above, don't look at all like anything else produced by the Tehuelche natives. They did "engrave" flat stones, and these are known as "Placas Grabadas", in Spanish (engraved stone plate). But these were just scratches etched on a flat stone, crude drawings. They weren't bas-reliefs like those shown above: see an example and an image of a genuine Tehuelche engraved stone.
They don't resemble either other kinds of Tehuelche stone sculptures, such as the stone snake reported by Deodat  in 1942, in Santa Cruz province, Patagonia.
These are more complex and neater. They are actually executed as bas-relief sculptures. A Bas-relief is a sculpture in which figures are carved in a flat surface so that they project only a little from the background.
This, at least in Patagonia is an unknown technique.
After seeing the photographs I thought that they may be fakes, so I got in touch with the Museum at Rawson, and they confirmed that the pieces are real, and event though the Museum is now closed, that these stones are in good shape and stored.
I also found them in Father Molina's book . I had also seen them in another book (dated 1951), so these all facts reassured me of their existence.
The question is, are they genuine or are they forgeries?
If genuine, were they carved by the Tehuelche natives? or by someone else?
We have some clues...
The symbols :Semitic, Phoenician, Punic, Berber or something else?
There are symbols, resembling Semitic letters, that is, Hebrew or Phoenician letters, on the stones. This is highly unusual.
What is more, there is a symbol, which appears in some sculptures (Figs. 1, 4, 5 and 8 bottom), which is shown below:
This symbol is actually a letter belonging to an ancient writing system, the Tifinagh alphabet. It is a "Lybico-berber" character that has been used by Berber speaking people of North Africa and also, the Canary Islands for several hundreds of years between, the third century B.C., and up to around the third century A.D. The arrival of the Muslim Arabs after 600 AD led to its demise.
What is a Berber symbol doing in a native Patagonian sculpted stone?
Carthage, was a Phoenician colony in Tunisia, North Africa, which was later razed by Rome after the Punic wars. The Tifinagh alphabet incorporated several Punic - Phoenician letters. This is a tenuous but clear link between Phoenicia and Patagonia.
From the cryptozoological point of view, the large snakes (Figs. 1, 2, 8 -bottom-, and 10) are interesting (I have posted extensively on Patagonian gigantic snakes), and so are the two animals (Figs. 7 and 8 -above) which resemble horses, as I have also posted on the possible survival of Native Pre-Hispanic horses in Patagonia. I posted on the animal in Fig. 8, a dog or horse-like cryptid.
Yet, from a historical point of view, the idea of Phoenicians having reached Patagonia long before the Spaniards did in the 1500s, is an extremely exciting one.
Furthermore, the Phoenicians or, to put it correctly, "Ancient Mediterranean sailors" who brought Phoenician letters with them to Patagonia, may have also brought their myths and beliefs with them, and shared them with the local natives.
If this happened, could they have been the origin of some of the Patagonian mythical monsters?. For instance, the horned creatures, so cow-like, or, should I say bull-likethat we find in Patagonian native lore, (see my posts on Native Pre-Hispanic cattle in Patagonia and Patagonian devils or cattle?), could have originated in the bull myths of ancient Crete and Greece (Crete-Mycenaean culture), such as the Minotaur of the Minoan labyritnt.
As you can see, this is a long story with many open options. So, I will keep on posting on it over the next few days (weeks?), till, as I did with the "Homo erectus in America" hypothesis, I bore you to tears!.
 Molina, M., (1976). Patagónica: Prehistoria, tradiciones y mitologías. Roma: Ed. LAS. pp.121
 Antonio Garcés,(1951). Libro del Cincuentenario de Comodoro Rivadavia, 1901-1951. Aspectos de la Arqueología Patagónica. Chap. 29.
 Deodat, Leoncio, S. M., (1942) Un bastón mágico herpetiforme descubierto en Patagonia austral. Relaciones de la Sociedad Argentina de Antropología, III, pp. 99-118.
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall ©