Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spindle Whorls from South America with Labyris symbol

In a previous post, I wrote about the Hourglass or Labyris symbol in Patagonia.

Today I found it in book (a controversial book at that) written by Bernardo Graiver [1] about the presence of Jews -from Israel- in South America long before Columbus discovered America in 1492. A special thanks for my wife who found this rare book and gave it to me as a birthday gift!

It displays the image of "Spindle Whorls" (in Spanish: Tortero) decorated with the triangles joined at their apex symbol (hourglass or labyris).

Spindle Whorls with an ancient symbol: the Labyris.

What is a spindle whorl?

A spindle is a long thin wooden stake used to spin fibres (vegetable and wool) into thread, which can be then used for weaving.

A spindle whorl is a disk with a hole in its center, into which the spindle is inserted. It comes in handy as it provides a base for the thread to be spun on the spindle, it also provides a bit of mass to assist the spindle in its high speed rotary motion, ensuring threads of uniform thickness.

The whorl is then removed and the spindle used to wind the thread.

They are made out of metal, stone, ceramic and are "universal", that is, found across the globe. In South America they are mostly made from stone or ceramic. The more uniform the whorl, the finer the fibers it creates.

They were usually decorated with incised images or symboles, such as the ones shown in the image at the top of this page. Fig. 44 and Fig. 45 depict whorls from two sites in Northern Argentina, Manogasta and Beltrán in Santiago del Estero province. They were discovered by the Wagner brothers.

The same images shows (Fig. 44) the Labyris symbol found at different locations (names are on the left: Rash Hamra, Ancient Ethiopian, etc.) and the meaning, a sound, since it is actually a letter is given on the far right: "q, s, z, p... "

The author stats that both Rash Hamra and Iberians assign the figure the same sound: "q".

It is striking to find a similar symbol so far away from its Mediterranean source. It may be just a very common symbol among humans, repeatedly "discovered" over and over again across time and space.

Triangles often represent female genitalia so it may be some symbol of fertility.

But, maybe, just maybe, Graiver could have been right and it may also have been brough to America by Ancient navigators from the Middle East.


[1] Bernardo Graiver, (1980). Historia de la Humanidad en la Argentina Biblica y Biblionica Ed.Albatros Arg.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2014 by Austin Whittall © 

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