At least 500 years before the appearance of the Inca Civilization in
the Pacific countries of South America, other cultures were making
One of these, the Nazca culture, built what has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; a monument impressive even on a world scale.
This work in ancient Peru has become known as the Nazca Lines.
Somewhere in the centuries between 300 BC and 900 AD, two cultures towards the south of coastal Peru interchanged designs and ideas.
These were the Mazca and Paracas cultures.
Researchers who have spent decades studying the pampas, or plains,
along the higher plateaus of the Western slopes of the Andes Mountains
believe that the lines, a series of huge geometrical drawings
intermingled with animal and human figures, were developed by the Nazca
people over a lengthy period of time, perhaps centuries.
The sheer extent of these drawings and as well as the area of four separate plains that contain them would indicate projects that would have taken many, many years.
The size of the drawings as well as their intricate and harmonious lines would have had to be planned out on smaller scale models.
Since there was no way for
the Nazca people to
view these patterns from
above, the symmetrical proportions and enormous size, especially in the
animal figures, would indicate some serious and detailed planning
before being actually put into execution by the Nazca people.
Around 2,000 years ago, the Nazca Culture occupied a region from the coast to the mountains of Southwest Peru.
Studies indicate that religious ceremonies were performed by the Nazca people, as in most other ancient cultures, to observe the start of the year and the seasons.
However, not all researchers agree that the lines had anything to do
with these ceremonies or observances.
Since many other cultures in the Americas and elsewhere used physical constructions (for example, Stonehenge in England) to tie in their astrological sightings with their religion, some have claimed that these lines directly related and/or pointed to places on the horizon where the sun and other celestial bodies rose and set in the Southern night sky.
But even those conjectures are nebulous with very few of the drawings by the Nazca people indicating any special accuracy of the Nazca lines related to the stars or constellations.
Basically, the purpose of the drawings by the Nazca people is not yet known and opposing theories exist that really can't be proven one way or the other by the facts.
However, some theories are quite farfetched and can
pretty much be ruled out.
For example, there have been several dissertations published that have theorized that the builders of the lines and drawings discovered in the Nazca region were actually beings from outer space. However, there are no real facts to substantiate this theory.
Another more-believable theory that takes a different direction relates again to religious meanings. However, in this case, it is the worship of mountains and other sources of water; water being very important in the life of the Nazca Culture in their desert-like environment.
This theory is based on lines supposing to be directed to specific mountains, valleys, and sources of water.
Again, there are just not enough facts to make this theory more likely than some of the others that abound.
The Nazca people and their culture are still being researched, but the
data is still scanty. Hopefully, further archaeological studies will
turn up more solid information on this fascinating culture and the
meaning of their gigantic drawings.
However, as of the current time of updating this page we can positively say this: All the theories propounded over the last 75 years are just... theories.