Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Nazca Lines

Did you know that the Nazca lines were not created by alien visitors or from the air, but were made by ancient Nazca people, in situ, over a long period of time? 

The forms of the geoglyphs on the Pampa include biomorphic and geometric figures as well as lineal geoglyphs. The biomorphic forms include as many as thirty different figures, which include a flower, monkey, killer whales, spider, and hummingbird. The geometric shapes include spirals, trapezoids, quadrangles, and squares.

According to Silverman and Proulx the Pampa geoglyphs were made using a subtractive technique where the top rocky layer of dark, angular rocks were swept away by hand, revealing the unoxidized, lighter-colored layer below. A rock border was then placed along the swept lines. This contrast allows the geoglyphs to become visible. 

Several suggestions are made as to how the figures could have been made without the use of aerial viewpoints. For instance, warp and weft grids may have been sit up across the land to help transfer the image, while straight lines may have been mapped using wood posts and cotton string, as well as view holes, which further challenge the popular alien visitor theory.

spondylus seashell
Some scholars feel the geoglyphs were walked or were “danced or tranced into existence, making them dynamic rather than static.” Hall suggests the purpose of the lines may have changed from images to be seen to images to be experienced. They were stages for walking, dancing, and ceremonial processions. He concludes that the lines appear to be related to water based on the 2000 discovery of a spondylus seashell, an important religious symbol for water and fertility. 

Other viewpoints suggest the lines were directly related to mountain deities, water supply, rainfall, and agriculture, especially as they do not line up with celestial bodies, but to places of ritual relating to water and fertility for crops.

A group of us are staying behind to fly over the Nazca lines. I doubt we will spot any long-lost alien space ships, but the lines sure will be cool to see.


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Silverman, Helaine and Donald Proulx. Chapter 7, The Geoglyphs of the Rio Grande de Nazca Drainage, in The Nasca, pp. 163-192. Blackwell, Malden, Mass. 2002.

Hall, Stephen S. Spirits in the Sands: the Ancient Nasca Lines of Peru shed their secrets. National Geographic. March 2010:56-79.

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1 Response
  1. Zac Says:

    My friend speaks for me:

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