A photograph showing the petroglyphs of Itá Letra.

Itá Letra, the Mysterious 7,000-Year-Old South American Petroglyphs 

Located deep in the Ybytyruzú mountains in Paraguay is Itá Letra, an ancient indecipherable set of petroglyphs believed to have been etched around 5,000 BC.


South America is known for its many incredible ancient civilizations. The oldest pyramids on Earth are believed to have been built on the edge of the Amazon river by a long-lost civilization. Peru and Bolivia are home to some of the most sophisticated ancient sites ever built thousands of years ago. To name a few, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, Puma Punku, and Tiahuanaco. But deep in the Ybytyruzú mountains in Paraguay lay a mystery no one has been able to solve. Called Itá Letra (Piedra con Letra), this ancient site is believed to date back to around 5,000 BC. The ancient site is home to a set of indecipherable petroglyphs.

Itá Letra, made by the Vikings?

In the past, it was thought that these were made by ancient Viking explorers, but nonetheless, this theory has long been discredited. Even though the Vikings didn’t wander off to Paraguay in ancient times, Itá Letra remains a mystery. Among the indecipherable ancient text are symbols of what many believe are depictions of constellations. The site also features etchings of stars and what people believe are entire star maps.


Studies in 2010 of Itá Letra

The Viking theory was discredited in 2010 when scientists from Spain traveled to the site and studied the petroglyphs. They concluded that, although the symbols etched on the stone were not made by Vikings, they were very old. How old? Likely dating back anywhere between 5,000 and 2,500 BC. This study precisely documented and recorded the symbols at Itá Letra, making it possible to study them without actually traveling to the remote site.

Some symbols are younger than others

Not all the symbols were found to date back to one specific period in history. As revealed by experts, the oldest symbols etched at Ita Letra likely date back to around 5,000 B.C. These are etchings of constellations and symbols of animals native to the region. Additionally, the oldest symbols feature petroglyphs of what are believed to be sexual organs. The younger symbols date back to around 2,500 B.C. These are lines and abstract symbols whose exact interpretation remains a mystery.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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