Ancient stone steles from Ecuador are the oldest stone sculptures known to exist in the New World, and are probably idols that were used in ritual contexts. They date as far as back as the 4th millennium BC and while each stele is unique, there are some common characteristics. They are all made from the same pearly grey sandstone and are also fairly uniform in their ‘blockish’ form. The steles have four common themes: the shaman with stylised owl-like facial features, the serpent/arrow, the sun chart and the star chart or ‘cosmogram’. A consistent aspect of the shaman stele is the formation of the eyes, which is always carved like the capital letter ‘B’ turned on its side. It was believed that the owl was a mystical creature of the night that had the ability to fly to other worlds and was therefore very closely associated with the shaman.