The Nazca Lines in Peru are massive land drawings that have baffled scientists for years. It is believed that they were created by the ancient Nazca people, which is a pre-Incan civilization. They were around for about 2,000 years, and they lived near the Pacific coast of Peru. There are plenty of theories surrounding the symbols, but none of them have been proven. The lines are located on a desert plateau in southern Peru, about 250 miles from Lima, which is the country’s capital. It extends about 50 miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. The most famous section measures six by two miles, near the village of San Miguel de la Pacana. Scientists have made a startling new discovery that deepens the mystery of the Nazca Lines.
These amazing line drawings aren’t the only thing that the Nazca culture produced. We have also unearthed artifacts dating back to that time, such as multicolored pottery objects and elaborate textiles. They had very sophisticated abilities, which allowed them to glaze their ceramics in 15 different colors. We also found some fantastic Nazcan pots with twin spouts, that look like lobsters. The textiles they produced were woven from cotton and wool, and they made tunics, shawls, and dresses.
In the area where the Nazca people lived, drought was common. Because of this, the people focused their beliefs on supernatural forces to bring water and to promote fertility. Shamans and priests led the people’s religious lives, and it is believed that they used hallucinogenic narcotics extracted from cacti. The drugs that they made helped the people experience visions.
The lines themselves are called geoglyphs. A geoglyph is actually a large image drawn into the land using surface stones to create an outline. The Nazca lines have red-colored pebbles that form the surface layer of the desert. They have been scraped aside to reveal the lighter clay that lies underneath. Many of the lines that run across the desert are shaped like animals and plants. There are 70 different creatures in total, and they are made up of things such as a monkey, a jaguar, and a spider. There is also a large verity of birds. In this area, it rains for about 20 minutes each year, which allowed the lines to remain intact for so many years.
The first documented discovery of the lines dates back to 1553, by a Spanish conquistador named Pedro Cieza de Leon. He stumbled across the waypoints during an exploration. The first modern archaeologist to write about the geoglyphs was Toribio Mejia Xesspe in 1927. When planes started to fly over the area in the 30s, they were able to get the full impact of the images they were seeing. This was the first time that they were seen from above. When commercial flights began flying over the area, people were able to see the lines from above.
Scientists and other experts have plenty of theories regarding the lines. Some believe that the lines are associated with irrigation. Some believe that they have a more astronomical significance. One of the crazier theory is that these lines were landing sites for aliens. An even less likely hypothesis was that the images were outlines for gigantic weaving looms.
The images that Japanese workers have been focusing on were the 16 bird images. They have examined these birds images for years and finally decided to bring in an avian expert to give them a fresh perspective. They figured that a bird expert would be able to provide them with more information about the birds using their expertise.
Three scientists concentrated on the bird outlines. Takeshi Yamazaki from the Institute for Ornithology, Masaki Eda from the Hokkaido University Museum, and Masato Sakai from the Yamagata University got together to concentrate on the 16 bird geoglyphs. Until these scientists were called in, the bird drawings were based on general impressions of the figures. The scientists took note of the sizes of the birds’ beaks, necks, heads, bodies, tails, wings, and feet. They compared them to the modern birds in Peru.
When examining the bird geoglyphs, researchers have discovered that one of them is a hummingbird. One member of the team, Eda, believes that it is actually a representation of a long-tailed hermit, which lives in Northern Peru today. One of the drawings that was thought to be an infant duck is actually a baby parrot, which lives in tropical jungles. They also named one a guano bird, which lives on the coast of Peru.
The scientists and archaeologists who have been studying the lines believe that the bird experts who gave their opinions have given them some beneficial information about the birds. They believe that we may never find the key to unlock the mysteries of these striking images, but any new information that they get about the lines will bring them one step closer.