Toro Muerto

10 Things You Should Know About the Toro Muerto Petroglyphs

The petroglyphs of Toro Muerto were created by multiple unknown ancient tribes.

Various ancient sites on earth tell us a peculiar yet fascinating tale. Toro Muerto is one of those exquisite sites as it has over 1000 unusual markings on its surface. The markings or engravings were created by multiple unknown tribes; experts have not been able to locate their origin as of yet.

Toro Muerto Petroglyphs, Peru
Toro Muerto Petroglyphs, Peru. Source: A.Davey, Flickr.
Toro Muerto
Source: A.Davey, Flickr.
Toro Muerto
Source: A.Davey, Flickr.
Toro Muerto
Source: A.Davey, Flickr.
Toro Muerto
Source: A.Davey, Flickr.

‘Toro Muerto’ is also known as the ‘Dead Bull’ in the English language. It is said that multiple animals died in that region due to dehydration as it’s a desert. Hence, they named it ‘Toro Muerto’. The site itself is millions of years old. The entire site is covered with rocks that developed due to a massive volcanic explosion. According to various studies, multiple tribes inhabited the site in the olden days. It is believed that over fifteen different tribes claimed the site for various years.

Following are ten intriguing facts regarding Toro Muerto’s Petroglyphs:

1) The petroglyphs of Toro Muerto were created by multiple unknown ancient tribes. However, experts and geologists have no idea about the said tribes. They are still trying to unearth their roots.

2) The tribes or societies that lived in that particular region engraved over 1000 petroglyphs on various volcanic rocks. It is believed that they wanted to leave messages for the forthcoming tribes. Their messages, however, have not been deciphered as of yet.

3) You’d spot various pictures, signs and symbols engraved on the volcanic rocks. According to experts, the rocks originated from a volcanic explosion.

4) According to various geologists, the drawings or engravings represent a special tradition of ‘rock art’.

5) The rocks and engravings are over 1200 years old. They represent various anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, geometric figures.

6) The archaeological site of Toro Muerto is located in the region of Arequipa, at 163 km from the city of Arequipa and next to the settlement of La Candelaria.

7) Furthermore, Toro Muerto is located in a desert that joins the Valley of Majes River. Its landscape is identified by its dry canyons.

8) The site is made up of over 5,000 volcanic rocks, the outcome of the dangerous volcanic eruptions of Coropuna and Chachani around 50 million years ago. Yes, Toro Muerto is quite old and holds a special value in the field of history.

9) Certain geologists and experts believe that these carvings were made by the ‘Wari culture’ over 1,000 years ago.

10) It is believed that the petroglyphs, which depict humans, snakes, llamas, deer, parrots, plants, and many other geometrical designs, including motifs and sun disks are remnants of the Huari and Chuquibamba cultures. However, experts are not entirely convinced.


All in all, we have no idea who carved the aforementioned volcanic rocks. However, some theorists suggest that the tribes wanted to communicate with the forthcoming societies; that is why they left thousands of drawings and engravings on the rocks. It is just a theory, though. The ancient ruins of Toro Muerto look extremely peculiar. As stated above, experts are still trying to find more details regarding the site.

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