Nasca Lines and Pampas de Jumana (World Heritage)

By | August 5, 2021

According to zipcodesexplorer, the Nazca culture with its huge scratches on an area of ​​around 500 km² is one of the greatest archaeological puzzles in Latin America. It existed from about 350 BC. BC to AD 650 on the desert Pacific coast. Her pictures show geometric lines and patterns, people, animals and plants and probably had astronomical or religious significance.

Nasca and Pampas de Jumana Lines: Facts

Official title: Lines and floor drawings of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana
Cultural monument: on an area of ​​about 350 km² ground drawings like a 46 m long spider, which is tied into a line network, a more than 110 m tall bird with a snake-like neck next to a trapezoid-like area, a 188 m long reptile, a dog-like figure about 50 m, which is cut through by the Panamericana, a monkey with a rolled-up tail whose figure ends in zigzag lines and oscillating lines, as well as various pairs of lines, including lines that were drawn on December 21st. point to the rising sun
Continent: America
Country: Peru
Location: between Palpa and Nazca, south of Lima
Appointment: 1994
Meaning: one of the greatest puzzles in archeology with presumably ritual and astronomical significance

Nasca and Pampas de Jumana Lines: History

525 (+/- 80) as the dating of the scratches
1939 Rediscovery of the soil drawings by Dr. Paul Kosok from Long Island University in New York
1946 The German mathematician Maria Reiche began investigating the floor drawings
1968 first publication of Maria Reiches »Mystery of the Desert«
1976 Publication of Maria Reiches »Mystery of the Desert« with the realization that 33 and 66 cm were used as basic units when creating the figures
2004-2009 systematic exploration and surveying by the German Archaeological Institute
2011 Japanese scientists discovered more hills, lines and ground drawings.

Spirals and birds in the desert floor

How could it have been? More than a thousand years ago, people who have remained unknown to us stand in the middle of a flat stone desert and start to draw a hummingbird in the hard earth; not a small, nectar-seeking bird, no, but one with a wingspan of 60 meters and a length of 80 meters including the tubular beak. In addition to this, other monumental works were created. In addition to an oversized monkey with a curly tail, posterity was left with a dog with legs 20 meters long. These gigantic creatures, along with their geometric structures and lines, have been a mystery to our present day. With such tremendous work, today’s viewer asks himself, where did the ingenious masters start with their drawings? How did you see your work and the result in the lowlands? And above all: Why did they create these scratches, who should and could see them? After all, these images appear almost without exception from a bird’s eye view; viewed today from fan guns that roar over the mysterious geoglyphs. Anyone who tried to track down the images and lines spread over an area of ​​several hundred square kilometers in the desert around Nazca would only come across a disappointing tangle of unmanageable furrows.

The late rediscovery of desert art goes back to their natural soil camouflage. One of the first on-site researchers was the German mathematician Maria Reiche, who made Nazca her life’s work and helped to uncover and document a large part of the earth drawings. They all probably go back to the Nazca culture, which spread in the fertile valleys of the arid zone, such as those of the Río Ica and Río Grande, between the Andes and the Pacific. There the Nazqueños farmed the fields and built town-like settlements with temples on pyramid-like platforms. Otherwise, we know that pre-Columbian culture for its multicolored ceramics with geometric and mythical motifs, and then for miles of lines and huge scratches. From the air you can clearly see abstract shapes such as spirals, trapezoids and rectangles as well as animal figures such as condors, lizards, whales and spiders. Was it calendar symbols, astronomical aids in calculating the solar year and the agricultural cultivation cycles? Were they cult signs addressed to gods? And were the dead straight lines of different widths used as ceremonial paths?

There was no lack of daring theories in the attempts at interpretation. The Swiss Erich von Däniken linked his ideas to runways for alien spaceships and cannibalized them into bestsellers. In her famous evening lectures in the Hotel de Turistas in Nazca, Maria Reiche repeatedly emphasized, even in old age, that the desert dwellers were intelligent enough to create such images and that they did not need the influence of alien beings. Nevertheless, the question remains: Why were such artistic animal pictures “drawn”?

With the perfectly proportioned line images, the creators unknown to us could have proceeded as follows: Between the extreme extremes of planned lines, they stretched cords across the floor and marked their course. Then they excavated the dark surface of the desert floor, sometimes calf-deep, until a lighter layer emerged. When connecting lines and spiral patterns, they also followed the laid cords. It is not clear whether they knew length measurements. However, a complete overview from above was missing, which led some extremely daring researchers to the thesis that the works were coordinated from a kind of hot air balloon.

The existing interpretations are puzzles like the network of enigmatic lines and images themselves. Archaeologists from the German Archaeological Institute provided a scientific approach to researching the scratches. They carried out systematic explorations and measurements of the lines and the Nazca culture from 2004 to 2009. They came to the conclusion that it must be a matter of facilities for fertility rituals from 800 to 600 BC. Chr and were caused by periodic climatic fluctuations. Together with the newly discovered postings along the scratches, geoglyphs, temples and visual markers formed a ritual landscape for water and fertility cults, which can be seen as sacred places for the Nasca people. The exact symbolic meaning of the individual geoglyphs has not yet been resolved. Further answers can probably be expected from Japanese researchers who set up a research institute on site in 2012.

Nasca Lines and Pampas de Jumana (World Heritage)