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Rock Art in the Sumbay Caves

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Man often resorts to art in order to express thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences. This is how nowadays we can have an idea of how the first men lived, since through the Rock Art in the Sumbay Caves, we can know how were the hunting activities and rituals that these primitive settlers developed.

The footprint that man leaves throughout history, will always go hand in hand with art, whether in architectural manifestations, textiles, ceramics or painting, and so in Peru there are special places that hide these vestiges and wonderful samples of what was the beginning of humanity in our country.

We invite you to visit the Caves of Sumbay, a place that surprises locals and strangers, be part of the wonderful speleological tours and witness of the

Where are the caves of Sumbay located?

The caves of Sumbay are located on the left bank of the Qollpa River, 91 km from the capital city of Arequipa, in the district of Yanahuara at 4097 masl.

Rock Art in the Caves of Sumbay
Rock Art in the Sumbay Caves

What is in the caves of Sumbay?

The caves of Sumbay are remarkable for the cave paintings on its walls, these were recorded in 1968.

During the scientific expedition it could be determined that there are 7 rock shelters, which were studied, it could be seen that the cave (rock shelter) No. 3 had been unfortunately prey of the "huaqueadores", in the 1930s, being removed all kinds of archaeological content, this being a great loss to Peruvian history.

Although it is true that no ceramic remains were found in the caves, there are abundant lithic remains, such as projectile points, spear points, smooth and serrated knives, scrapers, perforators made of obsidian, jasper, retinite and opal.

As for the cave paintings, there is a record of around 500 zoomorphic and anthropomorphic drawings, as well as geometric figures. Among the main zoomorphic drawings, camelids such as vicuñas, llamas and guanacos stand out.

There are also records of birds like the suri and felines like the puma, as for the human representations we have "the shaman", this is the most intriguing human representation, which carries an elongated object with a double crossbar in his hand, which is very similar to the engravings found in Toquepala.

Likewise we can distinguish the humanized forms, which use the skins of the camelids as layers, there are theories that the skins would be used as a disguise, since this anthropomorphic figure is in hunting activity surrounded by many more camelids of striped skin.

How to get to the caves of Sumbay?

The access road to these caves is currently in better condition, take the Arequipa - Juliaca highway until kilometer 82, from where you take the detour to Chivay, the road is a dirt road, which leads first to the small town of Sumbay, and from there you continue a journey of 3 km to the caves.

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