Nazca Lines: The Mystery of the Strange Shapes in the Desert

Up to this day, Nazca lines still mystify experts as to what purpose these geoglyphs serve. Theories were formed in attempt to explain the mysterious shapes in the Peruvian desert.

nazca lines
Theories attempt to explain the mysterious shapes in the Peruvian desert (explorebyyourself).

The Nazca Lines are located in one of the driest places on earth, the Peruvian Desert 400km south of Lima. The lines were discovered in the 1920s by Toribio Mejía Xesspe, a Peruvian archaeologist.

There were some 700 geoglyphs believed to be created by Nazca people between the first and sixth centuries. Studies shown that the Nazca people brushed away the top layer of the unfertile desert until light, sandy soil were uncovered.  Because of the dry and windless climate, most of the carvings have been well-kept.

Archeologists divided the glyphs into two categories. The first category is representational, illustrating animals, birds, insects, and other living creatures and flowers, plants, and trees, deformed or fantastic figures and objects. The second group is geometrical patterns formed by straight lines crisscrossing each other in all directions. Recently, experts found out other glyphs they called “tracks” which looked like to have been placed to have room for large numbers of people. These glyphs are impossible to identify in ground level but very visible from higher grounds or from space.

nazca lines
Some experts proposed that the lines and figures were landing sites for aliens (

One of the theories was presented by American geologist Paul Kosok and German geologist Marie Reiche. They believed that there is an astronomical meaning to the lines. They observed that the lines keep track of the position of the sun, moon and stars. The formations of the lines like the spider and the monkey corresponds to the constellations like Orion and Ursa Mayor.

Erich Von Daniken proposed that the lines and figures were landing sites for aliens. He said that the lines in the Peruvian desert were marked of the spacecrafts of the beings from outer space as they land in the area.

Another group of scientists studied the Nazca lines and pointed out that the glyphs have similarity to Inca ceque system. The ceque system functioned as agricultural calendar and as routes of pilgrimage.

nazca lines golomb
The ancient geoglyphs remain a mystery for the modern world (national geographic).

Geologist Anthony Aveni and his group compared the Inca ceque system and Nazca Lines and learned some similarities. The believed that the lines served as identifying markers connected to water.

Recent studies argued that the Nazca lines from a labyrinth and have spiritual purpose. They were intended for the passage of gods or spirits. Also, new research suggests that the geoglyphs were etched in the desert to serve as route of pilgrimage to an ancient temple.

Archaeologists continue exerting efforts to prove their assumptions on the possible use of Nazca lines. The ancient geoglyphs will remain a mystery for the modern world.

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