Nazca lines are still enigmatic to people and continue to capture our imagination, despite being etched in the southern Peruvian Deserts for more than a millennium. There are more than a 1,000 of these geoglyphs that represent the remains of ritual practices. Their geometric forms include plant and animal types, while the most intriguing and well-known geoglyph is a humanoid figure named The Astronaut.
Thanks to the advancements in drone technology, archaeologists have recently discovered new examples of these “ground drawings” in the Palpa province (made by the Paracas.) The lines are too delicate for the human eye to see, but were mapped thanks to the use of low altitude drone photography. The difference between Nazca and Paracas geoglyphs is that the Nazca lines are visible from the sky, while the Paracas lines could be viewed from the villages below as they etch into the hillsides. The Paracas lines are older than the Nazca geoglyphs, and they date back from 500 BC to 200 AD. Centuries before the Nazca geoglyphs made, Paracas were experimenting with making geoglyphs.
What Do These Geoglyphs Represent?
People are still fascinated by the Nazca lines, despite the recent discoveries. The Nazca people had to remove 12-15 inches of rust-colored, parched earth to reveal the light-colored and starkly contrasted sand. For the past 2,000 years, the lines have remained unaltered due to stable weather conditions.
How the lines were made is clear, but what remains a mystery is – why they were made. In the past, many theories about Nazca lines formulated. Paul Kosok (American historian) claimed that it’s the world’s most giant astronomy book as he noticed that the sunset aligned with one of the lines. The theory was disproved in 1968 when astronomers found that only a few lines correspond with stellar, lunar, and solar alignments.
Erich Von Däniken’s Theory
One of the most famous approaches to solving the Nazca mystery is Von Däniken’s theory. Erich Von Däniken (Swiss author) had the idea that extraterrestrial visitors came to Earth, landing in the Nazca region. During their landing, the rocket propulsion from their ships blew away the stones and cleaned land broader. The first trapezes emerged this way, and when the visitors disappeared, they left people confused. By drawing trapezes, figures, and lines, cults attempted to call the Gods to come back.
“Chariots of the Gods” was Däniken’s best-selling book in which he explained that ancient societies that lived in the region had been in contact with extraterrestrial races who taught them everything they knew. According to Däniken, the lines were used as an airport, but other scientists disproved his theories, calling him a pseudo-scholar. More recently, researchers attributed the Nazca lines to rituals that were carried out for more rainfall because the region experiences only 4 mm of rainfall annually.
The Nazca Lines are one of the greatest mysteries of the world and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Besides the mysterious geoglyphs, the region is attractive to wildlife enthusiasts. If you want to visit and experience the beautiful Nazca region.