Archaeologists Discover 168 New Ancient Designs Of Humans, Felines, Birds On Peru’s Nazca Lines


Archaeologists from Yamagata University have discovered 168 new geoglyphs on the Nazca Lines in southern Peru. Geoglyphs are handmade features created on the surface of the Earth, and are made by removing or clearing sand or stones or sometimes adding stones, according to an article published by Springer. The removal of sand or the addition of stones creates a contrast between the ground and the figure, enhancing the visibility of the design. The geoglyphs found on the Nazca Lines and surrounding area are one of the most famous in the world.

What are the designs of the newly discovered geoglyphs?

The newly discovered ancient designs are geoglyphs of humans, birds, felines, camelids, killer whales and snakes, among others. The study involved field surveys using aerial photos and drones. As many as 77 geoglyphs are concentrated in an archaeological park established in 2017 near the downtown area of ​​the Peruvian city of Nazca, also called Nasca.

When were the newly discovered geoglyphs made?

The field surveys were conducted from June 2019 to February 2020. The research group was led by Professor Masato Sakai from Yamagata University in collaboration with Peruvian archaeologist Jorge Olano. According to a statement released by Yamagata University, the 168 newly discovered geoglyphs are thought to date between 100 BC and 300 AD.

As many as 36 geoglyphs discovered in the Aja area near Nazca

Researchers discovered 36 of these geoglyphs in the Aja area near Nazca. Yamagata University previously announced the discovery of 41 geoglyphs in this area in 2014 and 2015, following which an archaeological park was created in 2017 in collaboration with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture to protect the ancient designs.

A total of 77 geoglyphs are concentrated in the park of Nazca

With the discovery of 36 new geoglyphs in the Aja area, a total of 77 geoglyphs are now known to be concentrated in the archaeological park. The findings of the research will be applied to protect the Nazca Lines and conduct AI-based surveys in the future.

Total number of geoglyphs discovered in the Nazca Lines so far is 358.

Between 2004 and 2018, 190 geoglyphs of animals and humans were discovered. Following the discovery of 168 geoglyphs by researchers at Yamagata University, the total number of geoglyphs discovered is 358.

How were the newly discovered geoglyphs constructed?

According to the university, the geoglyphs, which include humans, birds, orcas, snakes, camelids and felines were created by removing black stones from the surface of Earth to expose a white sandy surface below.

What are the two types of geoglyphs?

There are two types of geoglyphs, namely a linear type and relief type. Only five of the geoglyphs discovered as part of the new research are linear, while the remaining 163 are of relief type. The latter type of geoglyphs are small, less than 10 meters in diameter, and mostly distributed along ancient trails.

More about the Nazca Lines

The ‘Nazca Lines’ is a World Heritage Site declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In 1994, UNESCO added the Nazca site to its World Heritage List.

Also known as the Nasca Lines, the archaeological site has groups of geoglyphs that appear, from a distance, to be etched into Earth’s surface on the arid Pampa Colorada, which means “Coloured Plain” or “Red Plain”. The Pampa Colorada is located northwest of Nazca. The geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines extend over an area of ​​nearly 500 square kilometers, according to Britannica.

Some of the Nazca Lines are believed to be the work of the Paracas culture.

While most of the Nazca Lines were constructed more than 2,000 years ago by the people of the Nazca culture, who inhabited the world from 200 BC to 600 AD, some geoglyphs clearly predate the Nazca and are considered to be the work of the earlier Paracas culture. .

The images dated to the Paracas are often human-like and similar to earlier petroglyphs or prehistoric rock carvings.

More about the designs of the Nazca Lines

Meanwhile, the designs of the Nazca Lines are usually plants and animals including monkeys, killer whales, hummingbirds, pelicans, spiders, and flowers, and also geometric shapes such as triangles, spirals and trapezoids.

According to UNESCO, the geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines are among archaeology’s greatest enigmas because of their quantity, size, continuity and nature, and depict living creatures, imaginary beings, stylized plants and geometric figures several kilometers long.

The figures have been said to be virtually indecipherable from the ground level. However, some claim that one cannot understand their meaning without walking what some believe to be sacred paths.

Debate about the significance of the Nazca Lines

The designs of the Nazca Lines were discovered in the 1920s. While there have been various interpretations of their meanings, their significance is still shrouded in mystery.

In 1941, American historian Paul Kosok observed the lines from an aeroplane, and hypothesized that they were drawn for astronomical purposes. According to María Reiche, a German translator who spent several years studying the archaeological site, the Nazca Lines were a huge astronomical calendar. She concluded that some of the animal sketches were modeled after groupings of stars in the night sky.

However, in 1967, American astrophysicist Gerald Hawkins concluded that there was no correlation between changes in celestial bodies and the design of the Nazca Lines.

The Nazca Lines are believed to have been associated with religious ceremonies.

An international team of researchers formed the Nasca-Palpa Project in 1997 to document and analyze the Nazca Lines and some similar figures near the town of Palpa in Peru. They concluded that the platforms present at one end of many of the designs reveal their ceremonial processional nature, and together with the presence of thorny oyster fragments in one excavated platform, the evidence suggests water-related religious ceremonies, something which is not unlikely in the To install desert region.

The Nazca region’s dry climate and winds sweeping sand out of their grooves naturally preserve the Nazca Lines.


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