The Nazca Lines
Episode #6 of the course “Mysterious World Landmarks”
High on the plains of the Nazca desert of Peru, about 200 miles south of Lima, hundreds of line drawings are etched into the landscape depicting geometric patterns, animal shapes, and human-like figures. There are over 900 of these line drawings in an area of about 50 miles. Most likely, the lines were left by the Nazca people who inhabited the area from 200 BCE to 650 CE. However, the people who designed and created the lines remain unknown. While some of the drawings are simple, others are more complex and depict flowers, spiders, lizards, birds, fish, and other land and sea creatures. The largest of these figures is over 660 feet long.
The Nazca lines were created by simply manipulating the natural landscape. On the Nazca plain, the white earth is covered with a thin layer of red rocks which were simply removed to create the outline of a shape on the ground. The weather on the plain is calm enough that the Nazca lines have largely been preserved in their original forms. Recently, some people claim that all the humans coming to view the lines or stay at the sites has caused damage to the lines. The shapes made by the Nazca lines are so large that they can most clearly be seen from the air during flight, although they can also be viewed from the surrounding hills.
The fact that they are drawings intended for an aerial audience has left many people to wonder about the reason for the lines’ creation. Most scholars and researchers believe the Nazca lines served spiritual or religious purposes. Whoever the Nazca were and whatever their reason for leaving the lines, the Nazca lines attract hundreds of visitors and scholars from around the world every year.
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