Many ancient mysteries are waiting to be unraveled this century, as science and technology continue to advance. Seen as the „new age of exploration", the 21st century promises to solve some of the most intriguing puzzles of our current history.
Scientists are still discussing the purpose of the Nazca lines. Do these complex geoglyphs in Peru symbolize constellations? Are they compared to giant alien landing spots, or are these signs showing the way for their ships? For now, no theory seems plausible enough when it comes to explaining their purpose.
These are the famous Nazca lines, a mystery that has concerned countless researchers for over 80 years. These mysterious markings were built on the ground, but can only be seen from above. It’s worth mentioning that the area is mostly flat and cannot offer a higher view of the glyphs.
The Nazca Lines can be found in the Nazca Desert, a barren plateau that expands between the city of Nasca and Palpa on the pampa, which is a smooth, desolated area of southern Peru. They cover-up an era of desert of nearly 400 square miles. Overall, there are more than 800 successive lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs. Some of the straight lines stretch over 30 miles, while the other designs range from 50 to 1,200 feet in length, being as large as the Empire State Building.
Enormous geoglyphs are found in other places on Earth, such as Egypt, Chile, Bolivia, the United States (Mississippi and California), Malta and in other countries. However, the Nazca geoglyphs form an impressive and mysterious archaeological group because of their number, range, typical features as well as cultural continuity and preservation over the centuries.
The Nazca plain is remarkable for its ability to maintain the markings intact over a long period of time. Because the climate is one of the driest on Earth, recording only twenty minutes of rainfall each year, and the rocky soil which reduces the effect of wind at ground level, this barren place is ideal for preserving a work of art for eternity. The clarity and positioning of the lines and drawings leave no doubt that an exhaustive and long-term effort was instrumental in their creation.
There are diverse designs consisting of shapes of animals, plants, objects, flowers, and even huge manlike figures made with well-defined lines. The most renowned drawing is of a weird being looking similar to an astronaut. Measuring close to 100 feet in length, it was discovered by Maria Reiche in the 1960’s. Another curious representation is of a strange being with two huge, monstrous hands, one of them possessing only four fingers.
South of the Nazca Lines, on the pampa, archaeologists have discovered the ancient city of the line-builders – Cahuachi. It was constructed almost two thousand years ago and was inexplicably deserted 500 years later. Recent findings at Cahuachi are starting to slowly blow the dust off this ancient mystery.
Italian researcher Giuseppe Orefici has been uncovering the site’s secrets for the past decades, bringing a team down each year. He concluded that the settlement’s population was quite small, but the city was also a pilgrimage center that brought a huge increase in population whenever ceremonial events occurred.
These events seemingly concerned the Nazca Lines and the colossal sand dune of Nasca. This theory seems very plausible because of the archaeological evidence provided by the Nazca lines, showing creatures such as a killer whales and monkeys, which did not exist in the Nazca region.
Because of the arid climate the recent findings consist of clothing and amazingly preserved mummified bodies of the Nazca people. Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert considers that our current progress in technology will help in solving this ancient mystery:
This is where using increasingly powerful computer analysis to crunch big sets of geographical and archaeological data would be really important.
Needless to say, only the obstacle of time remains before deciphering the true meaning of the Nazca Lines.