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The mysterious Nazca Lines of Peru

Nazca lines in Peru - The Astronaut

What are the Nazca Lines of Peru and how were they made?

Nazca lines in Peru - The Spider

The Nazca Lines are a collection of unusual, large ancient geoglyphs etched into the high plateaus of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. The largest are nearly a quarter mile long and depict a variety of objects and shapes including more than seventy drawings of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, and monkeys – many of which would have been unknown to inhabitants of the area. Some depict human-like entities. They cover an area of about 170 square miles and are only visible from the air.

The drawings are believed to have been created sometime between 500 BC and 500 AD. They were made by gouging shallow lines about 6-inches deep into the ground, removing the natural iron oxide-coated reddish pebbles and exposing the grayish ground beneath. Because of the isolated location and dry, windless environment, the drawings have remained preserved for thousands of years.

What is the purpose of the Nazca lines?

The purpose of the lines is unclear. Some theorize they could be related to astronomy or cosmology meaning the area acted as a sort of observatory. Some believe they contain religious significance to the original artists. Some believe they are related to an ancient alien-influence culture attempting to communicate with the “people in the sky”. Others believe they were drawn by stranded aliens themselves, in an attempt to communicate with others of their kind in the sky. Or maybe they were the whimsical art of a madman with too much time on his hands.

When were the Nazca lines discovered?

The earliest mention of the Nazca Lines was in a book by Pedro Cieza de Leon in 1553.  He mistook the lines for trail markers.  The first to distinguish them as drawings were Peruvian military pilots in 1927. 

Paul Kosok from the Long Island University is credited as the first scholar to seriously study the lines (1940).  New figures are still being discovered today.

Pictorial gallery of the Nazca Lines of Peru

Below are a sampling of the Nazca Lines drawings.

Cleaned up versions of the barely-visible Nazca Lines

fish unprocessedfish processed
Fish

snake and humanoid unprocessedsnake and humanoid processed
Snake/dragon

humanoid unprocessedhumanoid processed
Humanoid

bird unprocessedbird processed
Humanoid

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Image Credits

Bird processed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Bird unprocessed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Humanoid processed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Humanoid unprocessed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Snake and humanoid processed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Snake and humanoid unprocessed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Fish processed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Fish unprocessed via Yamagata University with usage type - News Release Media
Nazca lines in Peru - The monkey via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso
Nazca lines in Peru - The Spider via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso
Nazca lines in Peru - The Tree via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Hummingbird via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Condor via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Whale via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Astronaut via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Pelican via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Dog via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Monkey via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Heron via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - Phytomorphic glyphs via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - Hands via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Parrot via Wikipedia Commons by PsamatheM with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Tree and The Lizard and Viewing Tower and Pan-American Highway via Wikipedia Commons by PsamatheM with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Spiral via Wikipedia Commons by PsamathewM with usage type - Creative Commons License
Nazca lines in Peru - The Flower via Wikipedia Commons by Fabian65 with usage type - Creative Commons License

Featured Image Credit

Nazca lines in Peru - The Astronaut via Wikipedia Commons by Diego Delso with usage type - Creative Commons License