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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Phoenicians, Tehuelches, Patagonia and cryptozoology - Part 1

Phoenician symbols engraved on Patagonian rocks. Native or Semitic art?
See Index on all my posts on Phoenicians in America.

intertwined giant snakes Patagonia rock art
Fig. 1. Alleged Tehuelche engraved stone with several intertwined snakes. Source: Internet

tehuelche snake and symbols. Engraved rock
Fig. 2. Tehuelche, snake and symbols. Engraved stone. Source: Internet

cross moon on ancient patagonian sculpture
Fig. 3. Ancient Patagonian sculpture. Cross, moon and symbols. Source: Internet

Phoenician and Berber symbols in Patagonia
Fig. 4. Ancient Patagonian sculpture. Phoenician symbols or letters and a Berber symbol. Source: Internet

symbols and letters on tehuelche rock art
Fig. 5. Berber symbol and letters on ancient Tehuelche engraved rock. Source: Internet

engraved tehuelche stone
Fig. 6. Native face, sun and moon on Tehuelche engraved rock. Source: Internet

tehuelche stone with horse engraved
Fig. 7. Tehuelche engraved stone, with an arrow head and, a horse?. Source: Internet

horse guanaco and symbols on tehuelche stone
Fig. 8. Boulders engraved by Tehuelches. Above: a strange horse like? creature and symbols. Below: Guanaco, snake, symbols. From [1]

(See my post on this "horse-like cryptid").

Dama de Comodoro, phoenician carving, Patagonia
Fig. 9. Woman's face, Tehuelche or Phoenician sculpture. Patagonia. "Dama de Comodoro Rivadavia". Source: Internet

And this image, which I already posted before when I mentioned the Phoenician-Patagonian connection for the first time:

Fig. 10. Tehuelche Rock Art with Semitic symbols and weird snake. From [2]

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 [3] 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 [1]. I had also seen them in another book (dated 1951)[2], 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:

berber yaz letter

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!.


[1] Molina, M., (1976). Patagónica: Prehistoria, tradiciones y mitologías. Roma: Ed. LAS. pp.121
[2] Antonio Garcés,(1951). Libro del Cincuentenario de Comodoro Rivadavia, 1901-1951. Aspectos de la Arqueología Patagónica. Chap. 29.
[3] 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 Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 


  1. There is a trove of artifacts being displayed in a small museum in Reyes, Bolivia - very close to Brazil near the Bene River. The archeologist is my father-in-law and he found the items and had them identified as Phoenician. We have one of the items. Email if you would like to see a pic.
    - - William

  2. I will get in touch with you!

  3. .the Phoenicians are the ancestors of the Lebanese people only , they have nothing to do with syrians ( who were the assyrians ) and the jews and the philstins ... btw , you can check all their inscriptions , you will easily discover that the Phoenicians are autochtonous in their cities in Lebnon ( they call themselves canaanites and usually name the city from which they came like tyre - sidon , jbeil etc... all in lebanon inclusively ) they have never called themselves syrians or assyrians or jres or whatever ,,, on the other hand that are no artifacts of inscriptions belonging to syrians , jews or philistins in which they calll themselves canaanites or phoenicians .. so please Phoenicia is Lebanon precisely ( not mediterranean vaguely ) .. more than that , you maybe surprised that there is no people in the world who ressembles to the phoenicians more than lebanese themselves , who are experts in commerce , flexible and can integrate easily with any new society , they build wherever they go , they still exploit mines of of golds and diamond in africa , this small population which counts 14 million emigrants and 4 million residents in Lebanon ., are very successful , they are deputees , and ministers in all the western countries , they are presidents , deans ( and/ or ) professors in alllllllllll top 200 universities in the world with no exception , 72 of them are CEOs on the top biggest IT enterprises in the world , they lead nearly all the section of NASA , they are top surgeons in the world ... in Lebanon , each building has lebanese famous people who occupy very high posts anywhere in europe or the americas or Australia .. put a lebanese child of 5 years old next to a european or american one , and see how brilliant the lebanese one is , and how easily he can find a way to comunicate with another child who does not speak his language .. i have to say that Lebanese of today don't differ at all from the Phoenicians , they don't seek reputation but wealth only .. and it's not a coincidence that the Lebanese diaspora is on the richest in the world .. our phoenician traditions are persisting even in our dance ritual like dabke ( that exists on a cyprian limestone belonging to Phoenicians .. today some arabs imititate our dabke and in their barbaric logic , they consider our folk songs and dances as part of theirs too ) .. the trditional Lebanese songs used to start with " 'p " or " of " and this is a phoenician word which means " also " for challenging .. now syrians and palestinians who have nothing but plotting against our country are steeling our heritage too , imitating it and consider that it's their;s too .. the Lebanese cuisine which became one of the healthiest and richest food in the world , is a transmission of many foods in the countries in lebanon and around , promoted by lebanese emigrants after distinguished preparation of these foods and their talent of commercializing ... you see syrians and other , starting now to claim that these foods make part of their traditional cuisine ,, so why didn't they never reposte before ?? when this cuisine gained a remarkable success ( thanks to the Lebanese phoenicians' talent ) , they syrians start now to claim that it's a common cuisine to them too , to benefit of the success that was made by lebanese .. and those syrian barbarians couldn't achieve ( although they are 10 times bigger country than ours ) ....

  4. This is not the first time we have an evidence that Imazighen (lybians) reached America centurieees before columbos..take a look on Oak's island treasure, and the treasure of amazigh king Juba 2

  5. Teuhulche are the descendants of mongoloids who crossed Bering strait in the last ice age period and along with other people's from same stock came to populate the Americas


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