Do Not Shoot the Messenger
The corpus of Andean rock art is enormous. Literally thousands of rock art sites have been reported so far and many more will be discovered. Although numerous fine publications describe many of those rock art sites, it is surprising to see how little actually is available. Several sites are known for more than 150 years, like La Caldera in Arequipa, Peru, but hardly any solid information is available about this site, let alone an inventory (only in 2015 an interesting paper describing La Caldera was published in Rupestreweb).
In general, unwillingness to share information and reluctance to react in a correct way to attempt to get in contact with somebody now seems to be a global problem and this unwillingness also concerns some researchers of Andean rock art. Too many times emails remain unanswered. In other cases one gets a very vague reaction, often without any information at all. Only very few people react positively and sometimes are able and willing to offer information, which is always appreciated and therefore acknowledged. I do not mind that people do not want to share anything unpublished, just let me know. The situation is different for published material; that should be accessible. What I do not accept is that people (in some cases even repeatedly) promise me certain services/publications and then ignore any reminder regarding their promises or of their own statements. In this respect Juan Chacama Rodriguez from the Universidad de Tarapacá - Arica, Chile, Robert Bednarik, editor of Rock Art Research, and William Isbell proved not to be ‘men of their word’.
The last issue concerns the widespread habit to uncritically copy graphical material published by others. In it self this is not a problem, at least when the source is duly and fully acknowledged and - when necessary - doubt about the reliability has been expressed, but it becomes a real issue when the source proves to be scientifically unreliable. Regarding Andean rock art this - for now - mainly concerns the publication by Antonio Núñez Jiménez (1986). Publications (partially) based on (the graphics in) the book by Núñez Jiménez (1986) are also at least questionable; not only the graphics, but also the ‘claims’ and/or interpretations based on those graphics. Actually, the resistance of several people regarding the Núñez Jiménez Issue triggered me to write a book, several articles and finally all my web pages in which I criticise several situations.
One always has two choices regarding the attitude one has towards dealing with any serious issue. One can simply ignore every issue, knowing that in this way nothing will ever change in the mentality of certain people (and as a consequence those people will continue their unwanted and unprofessional practices). Or one can expose those people by revealing the simple facts regarding those situations, in the (futile?) hope that something will change. I have titled this web page: Do not shoot the messenger, because that is who I am; just a messenger. I sincerely hope that the unbiased reader can profit in whatever way by reading the information I offer in my web sites and in my publications. Use my information, graphical and/or textual, but please have the decency to refer to my work and credit me in an appropriate way.
Header photo: Panel YER2-013 at Yerbas Buenas, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Photo by Maarten van Hoek.