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Nazca Lines Peru
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What and where are the Nazca Lines in Peru?
This desert is on the Nazca Plateau, which stretches
for more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) between the towns of Nazca and
The nearest large city is Ica, about 50 miles to the northwest
The area containing the Nazca Lines Peru actually consists
of four different plains, the Pampas de Jumana in Peru.
The largest of the
Nazca Line drawings are over 200 meters (660 feet) across.
Although some local
geoglyphs (drawings on the ground) resemble the Paracas culture motifs
these figures are largely believed to have been created by the
Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700.
were the Nazca Lines Peru patterns made?
The surface of the Nazca plateau desert is covered with a layer of
reddish-brown pebbles. Below that layer is a pale layer of soil.
the surface layer is scraped away, you can easily see a contrasting
line between the two colors.
Although some of the lines barely scratch the surface, this difference
in layers is what makes the Nazca Lines so visible.
Naturally, if there
were no contrasting layers to dig away, the lines just wouldn't show up
level of technology was required to be able to
accurately make such large figures?
Attempts to reproduce the figures using tools and techniques that would
have been available back then have shown that a fairly-primitive
culture would have been able to make these large patterns fairly
starting with just a scale model.
So, contrary to what a person might think, the Nazca lines in Peru,
their patterns and figures, could have been produced without ever
needing to be viewed from high above.
When were the Nazca Lines rediscovered?
Mention is made in the research literature that a Peruvian
Archaeologist, Julio Tello, was told of some strange geoglyphs, or
pictures drawn on the ground, in 1927.
However, it was not
1939 that a researcher actually visited and recorded
was seen there. Dr. Paul Kosok, known for his studies of cultures in
Peru, saw for the first time what became famous as the Nazca Lines
lying to either side of a road on a high plateau.
After studying these lines over the next few years, he returned to his
homeland and the work was carried on by Maria Reiche
graduate of the Dresden Technical University, who was to devote the
rest of her life to the study of these cultural phenomena.
Among her many
dealing with the Nazca Lines
, Maria Reiche spent much time
in her efforts to preserve the site from deterioration.
the new Pan American highway construction ran through the site and
divided some of the drawings in half.
Her efforts finally resulted in government protection of the area and
better control of the potentially-ruinous tourist traffic that was
beginning to increase in the 1970s.
Living to a ripe
Maria finally died in 1998
of ovarian cancer and was
buried near the Nazca lines with many honors.
* In 1995 UNESCO declared the Nazca Lines Peru a World Heritage Site.
* The former home of Maria Reiche is turned into a museum.
* The Maria Reiche center in Nazca becomes a wealthy source of
information on her research and activities.
As a visitor, you can hear lectures on the Nazca lines and culture, see
models of the vast layout of drawings, find out what is being done now
at the sites, and review the various theories about the origin and
reasons for these amazing lines.
Readers of this page will also enjoy more Inside-Peru information