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 Nazca Lines Peru

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What and where are the Nazca Lines in Peru?

Location: Nazca Desert of Peru.

This desert is on the Nazca Plateau, which stretches for more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) between the towns of Nazca and Pallpa.

The nearest large city is Ica, about 50 miles to the northwest of Pallpa.

The area containing the Nazca Lines Peru actually consists of four different plains, the Pampas de Jumana in Peru.

The largest of the Peru 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.

How 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.

When 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 very well.

What 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 easily, 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.

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 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 until 1939 that a researcher actually visited and recorded what 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, a 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 works dealing with the Nazca Lines, Maria Reiche spent much time in her efforts to preserve the site from deterioration.

For example, 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 old age, Maria finally died in 1998 of ovarian cancer and was buried near the Nazca lines with many honors.

Some notable events:

    * 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.

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