Shedding light on the Nasca lines

Science has just put out a news piece updating us on new research about the Nasca lines, which are located in the Peruvian Desert. It is titled, “Digging Into a Desert Mystery.”

I consider the Nasca, or Nazca, a mysterious culture, especially after a headless man was found and reported on in June. The Nasca lines are no less enigmatic.

So other than being difficult to explain, what are the Nasca lines? Nasca/Nazca LinesWell, Nasca lines are designs, images, and modifications made to the land. The purpose of the lines are largely unknown but very fascinating. They were scratched on the surface of the ground somewhere between 500 B.C. and A.D. 700 (there are actually several different estimates on the age range, for your information) and they were declared an Archaeological World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

Some of the designs are of giant animals, like a 180m-long lizard, a 90m-long monkey with an extravagantly curled tail or a condor with a 130m wingspan. Most of the lines are simple but perfect triangles, rectangles or straight lines running for several kilometers across the desert, to be best observed by plane. In total the designs stretch over 53 miles or 80 kilometers!

You can either fire up Google Earth, type in ‘Nazca lines’, to check them out or you can click this Google Maps link to see satellite imagery of the area. No matter the method you chose, you will see the massive lines etched out pretty clearly.

But back to the research… to be honest, since my university for some odd reason doesn’t have access to Science, I have no idea what they have published other than it has something to do with,

“A systematic campaign of aerial photography and archaeological digs has shed light on the enigmatic Nasca lines, massive designs created centuries ago on the desert floors of Peru.”

I’m thinking the piece is just an update on a more thorough effort to document and curate the lines. But that’s all an educated guess from the one sentence teaser we get. Does anyone mind sending me the article? I’m curious to know what more has been discovered.

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