- On July 27, 2022
- In English
The Nazca Lines are a collection of huge drawings etched on the desert surface of the Nazca region.
On this desert plateau, we can find large figures representing various animals, including plants, insects and birds.
Among them, we can find the representation of a monkey, a whale, a parrot, a hummingbird, a lizard, a spider, a heron, and a condor.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of lines that run for miles across the desert, as well as huge triangles, rectangles, and trapezoids.
We can classify the Nazca Lines into five types. The most well know are the straight lines, geometric shapes, and animal drawings.
The others are figures in high relief, and the so-called unknown stars, which are less popular, but nonetheless espectaculars.
All the images are so large, that the best way to fully appreciate them is only from the air.
To this day no one has been able to fully explain the meaning of the Nazca lines.
Its real purpose continue to puzzle archaeologists around the world.
Since their discovery in the 1920s, emerged many theories, but their significance remains largely shrouded in mystery.
Due to its monumental size and unique art, they were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994.
According to archaeologists, the Nazca Lines were constructed between 400 B.C. and 600 A.D.
Their creation is attributed to the ancient Paracas and Nazca people, who flourished on the southern Peruvian coast around 500 BC.
Scholars believe the Nazca culture would be a continuity of the Paracas people, as both cultures reflect similar customs.
Among the remains left by the Paracas people, stand out the Petroglyphs of Chicchitara, located at the Palpa Valley.
The zone shows a great collection of carvings representing animals, birds, insects, human beings, and gods.
All these carvings, drive us to believe that the tradition of using art to communicate ideas were used long before the Nazcans.
The Paracas culture declined around 200 BC, eventually disappearing, allowing the rise of the Nazca culture.
NAZCA LINES LOCATION
The Nazca Lines are located in a dry coastal desert in southern Peru, some 450 kilometers away from the city of Lima.
This enigmatic zone covers an area of over 500 square kilometers, including large desert zones called locally pampas.
It is one of the driest places on earth and home to one of the most spectacular geoglyphs on the planet.
THE ORIGEN OF THE NAZCA LINES
According to archaeologists, the Nazca Lines were constructed between 400 B.C. and 600 A.D.
Their creation is attributed to the ancient Paracas and Nazca people, who flourished on the southern Peruvian coast around 500 BC.
The southern coastal valleys of Peru were occupied by the early Paracas Culture, which extended its power from the Pisco region to the valleys of Ica and Nazca.
According to archaeologists, the Nazca culture would be a continuity of the Paracas people, as both cultures reflect similar customs.
Among the remains left behind by the Paracas people, stand out the Petroglyphs of Chicchitara, a great number of carving rocks located on the hillsides of the Palpa Valley showing a great number of figures, such as animals, birds, insects, human beings, and gods, which drive us to believe that the tradition of using art to communicate ideas was used long before the Nazcans.
By 200 BC, the Paracas culture declined, eventually disappearing, allowing the rise of The Nazca era.
WHO WERE THE NAZCANS
The Nazcans were a tribe that settled in the coastal desert of southern Peru, having as its capital the city of Cahuachi, a large religious center built with mudbricks, covering in its heydays over 24 square kilometers. Its pyramids, temples, plazas, and terraces once received hundreds of pilgrims from the nearby valleys.
Besides the bizarre figures etched on the desert, the Nazca people achieved their reputation for the elaboration of colorful and fine pottery, some for domestic use and others more elaborated for social and religious purposes.
The vessels reflected their daily life, their gods, flora, and fauna, and also show some of the same figures that appear in the Nasca desert.
They were also exceptional craftspeople that produced wonderful textiles made from camelid wool and plant fibers.
The Nazcans based their economy on agriculture, and to be successful they developed a system of underground aqueducts to irrigate dry lands that lacked surface water.
Thus, they were able to combat the ever-growing dessert around them.
Incredibly, these ancient channels are still in use today by local farmers.
Since the Nazcans lived relatively close to the ocean, fishing might have been an important activity and probably a good source of trade with Andean merchants.
Scholars believe the Nazca people were skilled fishermen, proof of that can be certainly seen in the iconography of their pottery and textiles, where they depicted not only sea creatures but also fishing tools and rustic boats.
THE NAZCA ENVIRONMENT
The Nasca region is one of the driest places on our planet, bounded by the Andes on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
Despite Peru’s tropical location, the coast of Peru is virtually a long desert strip, that goes for over 2,500 km.
The desert is generated by the icy Humboldt current in the Pacific Ocean and the prevailing winds, both running from south to north.
The cold Humboldt current prevents evaporation at the sea, and eventually the formation of clouds, and as a result, it rarely rains in these regions.
On the other hand, the eastern slopes of the high Andes, block the rain clouds coming from the Amazon Rainforest, therefore the coast of Peru does not receive rainclouds coming from that side.
Nonetheless, every year, during summer time, (December, January, February, and March), the water in the Pacific gets a little warm.
This rise in the temperature of the water generates rain clouds, which are usually blown by the winds towards the Andes, where precipitation occurs.
As a result, the rivers fill with this precious element, which later flows down towards the Pacific Ocean, creating fertile valleys along the Peruvian coast.
Occasionally, every 7 or 10 years, the Peruvian coast experience a natural phenomenon known as El Niño, which is mainly associated with natural disasters.
When El Niño occurs, the water in the ocean gets warmer than usual, air pressure increases, trade winds change directions, and precipitation level rises, causing severe storms and heavy rains.
Archeological investigations also suggest that the Nazca region also experienced serious drought due to another phenomenon known as La Niña.
In addition, an oceanic tectonic plate located in front of the Nazca zone, generates tremors and earthquakes, causing from time to time serious damage to the region, and even killing its inhabitants.
During archaeological excavations, various corpses have been found under fallen walls inside ancient settlements, indicating the existence of this natural phenomenon in the past.
THE NAZCA LINES DESERT
The Nazca Lines desert is a large tableland covered by pebbles and small rocks.
This desert plateau is situated at 430 meters above sea level. (Longitude: -75.130005 & Latitude: -14.739027)
The region is extremely rich in iron, therefore, the dark color of the soil is the result of the oxidation of this mineral.
In some areas the Nazca desert turns reddish, this is due to the contact between the rocky surface and the morning dew.
The iron rocks have oxidized over time, creating a sort of gigantic blackboard, so dark and mysterious that resembles the surface of the moon.
Nonetheless, a few centimeters below, the ground contains clay soil and gypsum sediment, the mix creates a white color and in some areas a yellowish tone.
THE NAZCA LINES CONSTRUCTION
Most researchers agree that the Nazca people made the drawings on the desert by clearing away the dark stones on the surface to expose the gypsum ground beneath, creating this way a high contrast between the dark surface and the light furrows.
Consequently, to create a large drawing the Nazcans only had to remove the stones on the surface, piling them along the edges, following the pattern they wanted.
The drawings should have been first sketched on a small piece of textile, to later scale up the image of the desert, using probably measurement units, that are unknown to us.
Archaeologists believe the Nazcans used wooden stakes for the construction of the lines, as remains of stakes have been found at the end of some lines,
The Nazcans might have put stakes in the ground and tied a rope between them, and then remove the stones along the rope to create straight lines.
As to the large geometric forms, such as the huge rectangles, we believe that they simply marked the borders and then remove all the pebbles on the interior, pilling them up along the edges, creating this way a huge clear zone.
Amazingly, these enigmatic drawings have lasted in this desert for over 2,000 years. How can we explain such remarkable conservation?
PRESERVATION OF THE LINES
Some facts have contributed to the preservation of the lines, being mainly the sun rays, dry climate, and moisture.
We need to bear in mind, that the area was left untouched for over 1000 years, and due to its location and above all, its dryness, nobody has ever farmed these deserts.
Furthermore, we need to take into account, the nature of the soil, which is made up of clay and gypsum.
The humid winter nights and the morning dew, make the stones sink gradually into the ground.
During the day, the sun hardens the surface, leaving the stones even more securely fixed in the soil.
Therefore, we might say, that thanks to this natural combination of water, gypsum, and solar heat, the surface of this desert turned compact.
Throughout the year the zone receives constant winds, but these natural elements are not strong enough to move the stones.
Additionally, most of the Nazca drawings were made on strategic areas or high plateaus, to avoid their destruction from natural forces, such as El Niño, which usually appeared with heavy rains and considerable flash floods.
In the past, the floods caused by El Niño left behind large footprints, such as dry river beds and many lines partially cut or destroyed. All this can be seen when we fly over the zone.
NAZCA LINES DESIGNS
In contrast to the famous geoglyphs of the Nasca culture, which are found mostly on the flat plateaus between the valleys, the Paracas were generally etched on the slopes of the hills; in this way, they are visible from the terrain itself or the valley bottoms. With extensions between 2 to 30 meters, they are smaller than the Nasca.
Among the motifs represented by the Paracas culture in the zone of Palpa, we can find zoomorphic figures, especially birds and cats, as well as anthropomorphic figures.
Moving north towards the Nazca plateau, we can find hundreds of straight lines, that crisscross the desert forming a giant maze.
Other designs are geometric shapes, such as triangles, spirals, and trapezoids, which were mostly created on a larger scale.
Regarding animals, we can find various types, such as birds, quadrupeds, marine creatures, insects, and plants.
As to the human figures, there are various drawings, among them, stands out a human outline known as the Astronaut.
It is important to point out that most of the human figures were etched on hillsides rather than the flat floor, and were created in early times.
There are also still many other figures that are yet unidentified.
The size of the figures can be huge, many of them at least the size of a football field.
The largest figure found in the Nazca desert is a bird, known today as The Heron, which covers 300 meters in length, about 3 soccer fields.
On the entire archaeological complex exist more than 800 straight lines, some of which are over 40 kilometers long.
NAZCA LINES DISCOVERY
The Nazca Lines remained unknown to the world for over 1000 years, thanks to their gigantic sizes and isolated location, they lay hidden from the human eyes.
It was not until the 1920S, that airline pilots flew over the zone and spotted various straight lines.
Shortly afterward, the news about these desert lines spread around the country, and soon the desert would receive its first visitor.
In 1926 Archaeologist TORIBIO MEJIA XESSPE arrived in Nazca, following the report of recent strange findings in the desert of Nazca.
After exploring the valley and observing some straight lines in the arid desert, he got to the conclusion, that the lines he saw were Ancient Sacred Roads.
Unfortunately, the reports made by Mejia Xesspe did not attract the attention of the public in those years.
In 1939, Professor PAUL KOSOK from Long Island University of Brooklyn arrived in the Nazca desert, driven by his interest in ancient irrigation systems that existed in the Nazca region.
During his exploration across the Nazca Valley, He would stumble upon the existence of the Nazca Lines.
In the beginning, he thought the lines on the desert could be also part of the ancient irrigation system, however, soon he would realize, he was wrong.
It is said, the first time Kosok visited the Nazca desert, he happened to be standing on a hilltop at the center of a group of lines, just as the sun began to set.
Looking along one of the lines, he realized that the Sun was setting directly above it.
He was shocked by this, for the date was June 21st, the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere (Winter Solstice).
Thus, he would declare later on that the ancient Nazcans had constructed this line to mark the winter solstice.
To explore the vast lifeless desert, Kosok hires the service of an airplane to observe the zone of lines from above.
It was at this moment when Paul Kosok saw for the first time hundreds of straight lines, enormous geometric shapes, and animal drawings.
After mapping the desert, he declared that the Nazca Lines were part of a giant astronomical calendar, telling ancient Peruvian when to plant, irrigate and harvest their crops.
NAZCA LINES THEORIES
Maria Reiche was a mathematician, who escaped from Nazi Germany to Peru in 1932.
She dedicated her life to the drawings of the Nazca desert, almost continuously from 1946 until she died in 1998.
She continued the investigation of Professor Paul Kosok, whom she met in 1940 while living in the city of Lima.
Maria Reiche arrived in the city of Nazca for the first time on December 17th, 1941, just a few days before the summer solstice take place in the southern hemisphere.
She spent the night in the hotel of Nasca, in the hotel “Royal”, today on the third block of Lima Street.
The first figure she discovered was the spider in June 1946. She discovered the figure of the SPIDER and sent the photos to Dr. Kosok.
He had the photos reprinted and copyrighted in various magazines, but never got in touch again.
During this year, Maria Reiche received a donation from the local mayor of Nazca, Don Agustín Bocanegra y Prada. The mayor gave her an old truck and a scissor ladder.
Thus, she could drive to the desert, before the sun rises to take the first photos of the Nazca plateau.
Since the city of Nazca was a bit far from the, she found a new place to leave in La Pascana, a small village very close to the desert drawings.
In 1947, Maria Reiche took the first aerial photographs, flying over the zones of Ingenio and Nasca. She flew over the lines thanks to a local pilot who used his small plane to spray agricultural lands.
In 1948, she discovered the HERON figure, a large bird of 300 meters in length, which she associated with the winter solstice.
On June 21st, (winter solstice in the southern hemisphere) she noticed that the beak of the heron was pointing toward the sunrise, thus this observation makes her believe the heron was announcing the beginning of winter.
In 1952, she discovered the MONKEY figure, a particular drawing that was drawn just with nine fingers, just like Maria, who also had nine fingers.
Reiche spent years carefully measuring the lines and plotting the relationship to the movements of the sun, moon, and stars.
She concluded the geometric line was a giant astronomical calendar. The whole complex, according to her theory, was designed to help organize planting and harvesting.
She also thought that ancient Peruvians constructed the drawings to please the gods and secure their goodwill.
She believes all images were symbols to remind the gods that their lands were dry and needed water and that crops needed blessings.
Unfortunately, the Pan-American highway, which was built in 1938, crossed the Nazca desert, destroying in its path many of the lines and designs.
Among the destroyed drawings is the lizard, whose body was cut in two when the road was constructed.
Her tireless efforts paid off, and eventually, she managed to get the Government of Peru to restrict access to the area and build an observation tower next to the highway to facilitate the vision of the lines without invading them.
Before the Pan-American was built, the population used drove randomly over the figures, as the drawings were so large, and they could not see them from ground level.
Besides her efforts to decipher the lines and her tireless struggle to protect the site, Reiche’s biggest contribution was putting the lines on the map.
Although her theory fell out of fashion, Peruvians felt immense gratitude and affection towards the woman they call today “The lady of the desert”.
ERICH VON DANIKEN
In 1968, Swiss writer, Erich von Daniken, fueled a wild scientific debate, on his book “Chariots of the Gods”, he declared the Nazcans were communicating with visitors from other planets.
According to his theory, the huge geometric forms were made by Aliens when they landed on the Nazca desert a long time ago.
He believes that when the Alien’s machines landed on the Nazca desert, stones were blown away by the power of their rocket propulsions, making a big track on the ground, and after some time, when the Aliens left, the Nazcans came to the site and saw these huge tracks, landing tracks and take off tracks, so they would whisper, the fiery gods, rolled on these lines.
JIM WOODMAN & JULIAN NOTT
In 1975, adventure Jim Woodman and balloonist Julian Nott visited the Nazca desert.
They didn´t have only a different theory but also did their best to prove it.
Both adventurers were convinced the Nazcans had flown over the desert in a hot air balloon to look at the drawings while worshipping the sun.
So, they tried to prove the Nazcans could fly, by building a hot air balloon, using materials the ancient Nazcans would have had.
They used a reed boat as a gondola and cotton cloth for the envelope, the funnel was heated from a fire pit, so finally, they lifted off, flying over the desert only for 2 minutes.
The deeper investigation established that there is no evidence that the Nazcans could have built a hot air balloon or were able to fly.
Phyllis Pitluga a teacher from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, visit Nazca for the first time in 1983, interested in Inca Astronomy.
Years later, she would be invited by Maria Reiche to join her on the investigation of the Nazca Lines, taking into account her experience and knowledge about the cosmos.
Initially, she supported the theory of Maria Reiche, believing the origin of the lines was connected with celestial bodies and it might have been used as an astronomical calendar.
After a painstaking survey work in the desert, Pitluga got to the conclusion that the lines did not match with the constellations in the Nazca sky.
As to the lines, she believes that it a was mere coincidence that some lines were pointing to certain important stars, as there are millions of stars in the sky, and any line could be pointing at anything just because of the profusion.
Astronomer Gerald Hawkins was already well known among scientists when he began his research on the Nazca Lines in 1967.
After exploring Stonehenge in England with successful results, Hawkins decided to use the same technological tools he used for Stonehenge to solve the mystery of the Nazca Lines.
Thus, he and his colleagues came to Nazca to test the astronomical theory of Maria Reiche, but once more, the astronomical proposal could not be proven.
In 1968, an investigation carried out by Hawkins and the National Geographic established that, while some of the Nazca lines did point to the positions of the Sun, Moon, and certain stars 2000 years ago, it was nothing more than mere chance.
He came back to Nazca in 1973, and surveyed 186 lines with a computer program and found that only 20% had astronomical orientation, once more, it was understood as pure chance.
Hawkins could find no correlation at all between the lines and the cosmos, therefore from his point of view, astronomy was not the solution to the puzzle.
Following Hawkins’s research, eclipsologist Robin Edgar believes that the Nazca drawings, main animals, might be an ancient response to the so-called “Eye of God”, which is manifested in the sky during a total solar eclipse.
Robin Edgar asserts that there were an unusual series of total solar eclipses over southern Peru in Nazca times, which potentially coincided with the construction time of the drawings.
He says that when the sun is eclipsed, it looks like the pupil and iris of a gigantic eye up in the sky.
So, he believes the drawings were created to be seen by the so-called “eye of god” during a total solar eclipse.
In the 80s, Anthony Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University in New York, began a new research on the Nazca desert.
To test the astronomical theory, Aveni put Nazca Lines date through a computer and did not find a significant match between lines and important stars.
On the contrary, he asserts that the lines and trapezoids are related to water … but not used to find water, but rather used in connection with rituals.
He believes that some of the lines were sacred pathways meant to be walked in rituals where the Nazcans probably beg their gods for rain.
He also indicates that a significant number of lines are pointing toward the foothill of the Andes, where the sun used to rise at the beginning of the rainy season, suggesting that perhaps, those lines were created to worship deities, particularly those related to rain.
Aveni noticed that a significant number of straight lines converged in spoke patterns that he calls “ray centers.”
After months of subsequent fieldwork, Aveni identified at least 62 ray centers and some 800 straight lines. Almost every line connects to a ray center and virtually every ray center occurs on a hilltop.
The lines were sacred paths that led Nazca clans and priests to the ray centers and nearby trapezoids where ceremonies related to water were carried out.
David Johnson, an independent scholar with great knowledge of geology, from New York, arrived in Nazca as a tourist in 1995.
As an expert dowser, he got interested in the Nazca region, after learning about the scarcity of water and the negative impacts on local agriculture. He simply became fascinated with the problem, as this kind of situation was not Alien to him.
He explores the dry Nazca Valley for several seasons, using his dowsing skills to find subterranean water.
He spent time talking with local farmers, from whom he got first-hand information about life in the valley and their struggles to combat the scarcity of water.
He starts his research by exploring the Nazca Puquios, old underground channels built around 500 AD by the ancient Nazca people.
While mapping the location of the channels, he noted at the same time various archaeological sites and ground markings (Nazca Lines) nearby.
So he began to associate them and thought the desert lines might be pointing to underground water sources.
He asserted that the ancient Nazcans knew about the geological structure of their environment, including faults, so that is why, they built their communities in these special zones, areas where they could find a reliable source of fresh water.
Johnson claims that exist various underground rivers under the Nazca desert and many of the drawings are connected to them.
So in little words, the whole complex is a giant map that shows what is going on under the desert in terms of aquifers or underground stores of freshwater.
According to David Johnson, where there is a trapezoid, there is below an aquifer.
For him, spirals figures indicate a change in the direction of the underground water flow.
Regarding the large triangles, he says that they are pointing to geological faults, and cracks in the earth that facilitate the flow of water underground.
As to the animal figures, he believes they represent the names of the aquifers.
So, there was a Condor aquifer, a Spider aquifer, and so on.
To prove Johnson’s hypothesis, a group of specialists made up of geologists and archaeologists soon would arrive in Nazca.
After almost five years of research, they could not validate his findings as there were mixed results.
The results showed that the correlation between the lines and triangles with the water source was a mere coincidence.
In 1988, JOHAN REINHARD, a National Geographic Explorer and an expert in Mountain Worshiping of Ancient Civilizations, arrived in Nazca.
After exploring the Nasca regions he concluded the lines were sacred pathways used by the ancient Nazcans to worship the mountains, natural divinities they thought were the main source of water.
MOUNTAIN WORSHIPING has been a common practice throughout these regions in the past, and still today, farmers used to invoke them, offering various gifts to please them, before putting their seeds into the ground.
In ancient times sacred mountains played an important role in Coastal and Andean societies, they were usually associated with water, weather, and fertility.
Even today, there is some kind of ritual roads, that led people to certain important centers where lavish ceremonies take place.
People from the regions of Cusco still today, follow ancient pathways toward the foot of the Andes to honor their gods who are thought to dwell high in the mountains.
At the ceremonial climax, the Indians form giant human lines, facing up to the surrounding peaks and praying to their mountain gods.
One of the festival’s more curious rituals was the ceremonial PIECE OF ICE carried from a high glacier down to the lines where believers await, symbolizing the holy water that brings life to desert towns like Nazca.
For Reinhard, the immense geometric drawings were places where rituals took place in honor of the mountain gods, begging for rain and fertility.
Regarding the animal figures, he says, they were the representations of the mountain gods, who were believed to take the form of different animals, usually creatures they admired.
ANIMAL SYMBOLISM is common throughout the Peruvian Andes, and we can find various animal creatures etched onto the Nazca plateau, which indicates the importance they had in ancient times.
In Andean belief, spiders and hummingbirds are associated with fertility.
On the other hand, there is a monkey figure, also associated with water, as its natural habitat is the Amazon jungle, an area with plenty of water.
Likewise, another group that makes up the list of animal symbolism are sea creatures, such as marine birds and the Killer Whale, and even shells, which were also represented in the Nazca plain.
Great numbers of marine shells have been found on the summit of the surrounding mountains in Nazca, indicating they were used in ancient ceremonies linked to water.
Reinhard believes the images on the ground were made on a such big scale, mainly for the mountain gods, who they believed resided up above, and therefore they could see them.
Some scholars believe that on important dates, the Nazcans walked on the animal figures in large groups, to get the attention of their gods, thus, the gods above could see the animals being brought to life.
Additionally, many seashells and ceramic fragments have been found on the figures, indicating that ceremonies were carried out there, and that probably, at the end of the ceremony, they smashed decorated pots as offering to their gods.
In the early 1980s, PERSIS CLARKSON, a Canadian archaeologist who specialized in geoglyph research in the Americas, came to the Nazca desert.
During her fieldwork, Clarkson documented various archaeological features.
Among these features, stands out the STONE CIRCLES, structures, and other remains near the Nazca drawings.
Clarkson assumes that stone circles were places used perhaps as a meeting point for the line builders. She found in these circles various colorful fragments of vessels, which make her believe the Nazcans smashed them intentionally as part of their ritual.
Regarding the meaning of the geoglyphs, she believes that the figures served as sacred pathways, a sort of procession routes where Nazcans venerated their gods.
Clarkson was also the first researcher to attempt to date the Nazca lines chronometrically.
MARKUS REINDEL & JOHNY ISLA
In 1997, the Swiss Dr. Markus Reindel & the peruvian archaeologist Johny Isla start a new research focusing mainly on the Valley of Palpa.
Their fieldwork was financed by the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research abroad.
The investigation of the Nazca Culture was based on a CULTURAL CONTEXT, and to aim their goal they summon a group of professionals, and experts in; Geoarchaeology, Geophysics, Chronometry, Anthropology, and Photogrammetry for detailed Geographic Information.
Thanks to the GEOMORPHOLOGISTS, they were able to discover the LOOES, prehistoric ground sediment that indicates that in the past (800– 200 b.C) the LANDSCAPE was more humid, therefore the valleys had more vegetation, developing solid agriculture.
This discovery also suggests that the climate in the past was not always stable, but changed over the years, and by the Late Nazca Period (450 – 600 a.C), the valleys turned arid, and rivers dried out, eventually forcing the Nazcans to abandon their settlements in search of new fertile lands.
These results are very important to understanding the nature of the geoglyphs, as for years, other researchers had not paid much attention to the geographic and geological background of these sites.
Along with ANTHROPOLOGIES, they carried out excavations on different sites, along the Rio Grande Basin in Palpa, where they found settlements that thrived in different cultural periods.
All these settlements were situated in key places along the valley. The sites excavated were Pernil Alto, Jauranga, Los Molinos, La Muña and Pinchango Alto.
The excavations at these sites showed interesting buildings made of mudbricks, cultivation terraces, tombs, and ceremonial platforms that contained offerings.
Among the offerings, they found llama bones, seashells, fish bones, and fruit crops, giving us a better idea about their nutritional habits and long-distance trade in those years.
Moreover, Reindel and Isla discover small ALTARS at the end of ancient trapezoids, which make them believe, that the huge geometric forms on the desert, were a sort of outdoor cathedrals, where hundreds of pilgrims carried out religious ceremonies.
Furthermore, the altars concealed underground various offerings, such as fragments of pottery, which suggest, the Nazcans smashed them on purpose as offerings.
These discoveries indicate that the size and volume of these structures, especially the rectangular structures, suggest that the bigger a trapezoid the bigger the rectangular platform built in it.
Unlike the large rectangular structures, the smaller trapezoids contained small burial mounds.
Finally, a fourth but less frequent type corresponds to structures with a circular or quadrangular plan that was used for temporary use, perhaps during the construction and maintenance of the geoglyphs.
It also appears that some such structures were also used as observation sites.
Among the remains found under these structures, they also uncover SPONDYLUS, thorny oysters that only thrived in the warmer tropical waters, in the north of Peru and Ecuador.
In ancient times, Spondylus symbolized water and land fertility for many cultures, as they flourish in warm coastal waters, where the landscape is more fertile and rainfall is more constant.
Ancient Peruvians likely knew about the relationship between rainfall and the presence of Spondylus in the ocean.
When the appearance of this Spondylus increased in the north of Peru, it meant that the ocean waters got warmer, causing a phenomenon known as El Niño, which brings a lot of rain and floods.
On the other hand, when the presence of the Spondylus decreased significantly in the ocean, a period of drought began, generating eventually another phenomenon known as la Niña.
So in the Nazca cosmovision, Spondylus had a great religious significance due to its association with water, and probably had more value than gold or silver for ancient Peruvians.
As part of the project, the team included AERIAL PHOTOGRAMMETRY, a powerful tool that allowed them to map large areas, including old ruins, and record over 1500 Nazca drawings with high accuracy. Photogrammetry does not provide only high-resolution images but also allows to obtain metric information about the size, shape, and position of the ancient settlements and drawings.
Unlike the famous geoglyphs of the Nasca culture, which are found mostly on the desert plateaus between the valleys, the older Paracas figures were generally etched on the slopes of the hills, which means that in those times these geoglyphs were visible from the ground level.
Also, with the help of GEOPHYSICS, they were able to detect ancient objects beneath the ground surface using a magnetometer, which allowed them to find structures inside some geometric figures.
Regarding the animal figures, they claim that the grooves forming the outline of an image were used eventually as a sacred path.
After analyzing various figures, they realized that the lines that make up the design are more COMPACT than the surrounding soils, therefore the ancient men must have walked on these paths.
According to some Spanish chroniclers, native people from these valleys used to say that in the past, their forefathers conducted large ceremonies on these giant figures.
The investigation of this team has demonstrated that the Nazca Lines cannot be studied in isolation, as the ancient Nazca world is surrounded by various elements that structure their context.
Without a doubt, the results obtained by Reindel and Isla reflect great documentation about the Nazca geoglyphs, a very detailed work, that provide us a deeper insight into the life of Paracas and Nazca Culture, which establishes the basis for future scientific research.
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