Located on the southern coast of Peru, in the Department of Ica, we find the legendary city of Nazca. Known for its exciting and sometimes inexplicable archeological sites. Also, it is most well known for the large designs of animals and what seem to be complex navigation systems of an unknown civilization. Tourists come from all over the world to visit this mystical place and can travel by plane to view the 12 unique geoglyphs that have preserved for thousands of years. This place receives its name from the culture which called it home between 370 BC and 550 AD.
In 1927, when air travel became available, the Nasca lines became one of the most mysterious findings not only in South America but all the world. Scientist and universities from different countries have studied the Nazca lines. They have found exciting facts and data that reveal the creativity of this ancient civilization. Some of what is registered are as follows:
The Nazca lines are from 10 - 15 centimeters thick, but this is not what makes them visible to the naked eye. The sublayer of light-colored clay beneath the surface of the lines has been found to contain large amounts of lime which hardens once exposed. The morning dew is what helps create a protective layer that allows the lines not to be affected by erosion. The earth adjacent to the lines themselves is superficially covered with iron-oxide covered pebbles. The contrast of color helps to make the lines distinguishable.
Some of the most recognizable geoglyphs of Nazca are the following:
The Hummingbird, The Condor, The Heron, The Astronaut, The Spider, The Pelican, The Dog, The Hands, and The Monkey. There are other geoglyphs with more abstract shapes covering a total area of 135 square miles.
The lines, however, are not the only astonishing feats we can attribute to the Nazca people. Their culture was known to have elaborate watering systems which irrigated the arid region of Nazca, making it possible to farm in otherwise inhospitable terrain. They built large wells a short distance from one another with spiral openings on the surface for the water to be channeled to the crops. Some of the crops they grew for food were beans, pumpkin, yucca, peanuts, chili (aji), guava, lucuma, paccay, and cotton, among others.
Because of the location of Nazca, the coast was a vital source of life. “Pesca and Marisqueo” (artisanal fishing of lobsters, clams, oysters and other sea life) were how the Nazca people used the available resources.
Video by ® Andina Canal Online
The impressive architectural work is well preserved and extends over 150 acres. It includes houses, storage rooms, and the central city which is where the rulers of government worked and did their jobs. There are other structures where religious events took place and where offerings were made to their God. These structures we made of Adobe and Quincha and have remained over the years in excellent condition because of the little rainfall on the coast of Lima.
Art and Music
The extensive archeological work discovered there, are the buildings with traces of engineering and applied mathematics. There are also a variety of artistic expressions among which we see textiles, handmade objects in ceramic and paint applied to these crafted objects. The most identifiable piece of artwork of the Nasca people was the ceramic pitcher that contained two pouring spouts joined together by a bridge which served as a handle. The ceramic art was created by hand and painted using polychrome colors. Ceramic Antaras (similar to the quena) trumpets, drums, and tambourines have been found among the remains of the ancient civilization. Music was vital for them during the ceremonies they performed asking for a blessing over the sowing season.