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The Nazca Lines


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#1    Paranormalcy

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:20 AM

This is one of those subjects that is like asking who built the pyramids - bound to get all manner of answers, from the ruthlessly empirical mundane ("The Egyptians of course."), to the outlandish, stories of aliens and ancient races or Atlantis or comparable ideas.

I read that the lines COULD have been made, in theory, from the ground, by people very well versed in mathematics and probably trigonometry and understanding of shapes and measurements - while it is a "rational" explanation, even this seems extremely far fetched - I doubt there is anyone NOW, using only sticks and maybe rope, even with dozens of workers, that could really engineer something of this  magnitude, sophistication and accuracy, without being one of our top minds. But any alternatives are almost total speculation in fringe areas of "science".  

Bird: http://www.onagocag.com/nazbird.jpg
Spider: http://xynx.files.wo...azca-lines1.gif
Monkey: http://www.blogas.lt...rrow/281103.jpg

There is absolutely no known way they could have seen what these things looked like from the top down, from above - it reminds me a bit of the crop circle phenomenon, in that two guys with sticks and rope (coincidence?) CAN make some extremely convincing circles, even at night, with no one seeing them.

But again - WHY? What could they possibly need this for? UFO runways aside, since there was no practical reason for these, since they couldn't be taken in fully by the human eye, I can think of only the possibility that they were built and used as combinations of roads and symbols of praise and faith to gods, perhaps the trails were considered divine highways or something, as they were presented majestically to the only people that could possibly see them - the gods themselves, from the sky above.


Still, absolutely fascinating, but I wonder if anyone else has any complementary or different ideas that don't require one to believe in little green (or gray) men?

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#2    fandango

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:29 AM

I cant remember where i saw this, but it was thought that they were to mark our subterranean rivers

Just found this on a google search.
NAZCA LINES LINK

It would seem to make sense for a desert inhabiting people to mark out where the nearest supply of water is.


#3    rassy

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

Maybe they made these things to honour their Gods (whoever they may have been at the time).

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#4    Qoais

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 08:14 AM

Peru's Nasca Lines Point To Water Sources, Suggest UMass Researchers






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 1, 2000)
AMHERST, Mass. -

The ancient "Nasca lines" created on the desert floor by native peoples in Peru thousands of years
ago may not just be works of art, according to a team of scientists from the University of Massachusetts. The team, which includes hydrogeologist Stephen B. Mabee and archeologist Donald Proulx, suggests that some of the mysterious lines may in fact mark underground sources of water.
The research project is detailed in the December issue of Discover magazine. The team also includes independent scholar David Johnson, an adjunct research associate in the department of anthropology
at UMass, and geosciences graduate students Jenna Levin and Gregory Smith.

The lines were constructed in the desert in southwestern Peru about 1,500-2,000 years ago by the Nasca culture, prior to the invasion of the Incas. The lines, which are etched into the surface of the desert by removing surface pebbles to reveal the lighter sand beneath, depict birds and mammals, including a hummingbird, a monkey, and a man, as well as zigzags, spirals, triangles, and other geo-
metric figures. Called "geoglyphs," the elaborate figures are located about 250 miles south of Lima,
and measure up to 1.2 miles in length. Their meaning has been the object of centuries of speculation. Some experts have hypothesized that the figures had ceremonial or religious functions, or served as astronomical calendars. But a slate of scientific tests has led the UMass team to theorize that at
least some of the geometric shapes mark underground water.

"Ancient inhabitants may have marked the location of their groundwater supply distribution system with geoglyphs because the springs and seeps associated with the faults provided a more reliable and, in some instances, a better-quality water source than the rivers. We're testing this scientifically," said Mabee. "The spatial coincidence between the geoglyphs and groundwater associated with underground faults in the bedrock offers an intriguing alternative to explain the function of some of the geoglyphs."

Proulx, who has studied the region for decades, notes that the symbols on the biomorphs (figures of animals, plants, and humans) and on Nasca pottery are almost identical. "There are representations of natural forces," he says, "Not deities in the Western sense, but powerful forces of sky and earth and water, whom they needed to propitiate for water and a good harvest."

The team has studied the drawings and taken water samples during three separate journeys to Peru, over the past five years. The research has been funded by a University of Massachusetts Healy grant, the National Geographic Society, and the H. John Heinz Charitable Trust.

"So far, the tests indicate that the underground faults provide a source of reliable water to local inhabitants. The water, in comparison with available river water, is better-quality in terms of pH levels, magnesium, calcium, chloride and sulfate concentrations," Mabee said.

Proulx carried out an archaeological survey of more than 128 sites in the drainage area, in conjunction with the geological research. His discoveries provided data for another piece of the puzzle many archaeological sites were constructed near water-bearing faults and used this important secondary source of water.

The team was able to map the water's sources, and found that in at least five cases, the wells and aquifers corresponded with geoglyphs and archaeological sites. "They always seem to go together," said Mabee.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Adapted from materials provided by University Of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
APA

MLA University Of Massachusetts, Amherst (2000, December 1). Peru's Nasca Lines Point To
Water Sources, Suggest UMass Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 8, 2008, from



http://www.scienceda...01201073347.htm

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#5    eight bits

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:44 AM

It is uncontroversial that that the Nazca people made designs on textiles and ceramics.

http://www.lindakreft.com/nasca.html

A basic skill for a cloth or pot decorator would have been projective geometry, to scale up a design from one size workpiece to another. Little technology is required for scaling; most of the engine resides in the 1500-gram Universe.

It is a secular fact that there is no limit to projective scaling. I don't see what is disappointing about any achievement of the human spirit being mediated by rational means. If I am only my reason, then I am less than a man; if I am not at least my reason, then, too, I am less than a man.

Intuitively, I tend to agree with other posters that there was a secular and practical purpose to the location of the designs. Doing anything costs something; those who expend resources without pay-back perish. The marking of water sources is a good candidate purpose.

But the Nasca were human beings. Human beings decorate their tools. A path is a tool for walking.

Umm, who gives a flying fatootie that nobody can see the designs? If you are on a path, walking it, then what matters is that you know what the pattern is.

I speak from experience here. I blaze, recover and maintain woodland trails. I hold in my head "figures" much bigger than any Nasca land-drawing. I don't need Google Earth to see what's going on, where the trail segment I might be working on fits into the larger "picture." The "picture" is in two places: the ground fact and my conception of it. No place else, nor need it be anyplace else, least of all upside down on somebody's retina.

How much work is involved? Based on your comment, I think you would be surprised how much can be done by a single person, or a small gang, in a day. I never use power tools; the Nazca don't need to clear brush nor fell trees.

Here is one man making a Chartres labyrinth on a beach:



I think you can sense the spritual, meditative potential for making such a figure, as well as for circumabulating the product once the figure is made. There is the further sprituality in his case that the water will reclaim his tablet. The same thought would also be expressed equally well if the sand will bear the marks made forever... either way, time and eternity meet in the figure, and at the heart of the figure is the maker of figures.

The chief problem with the alien architect theory is not that it is far-fetched, but that it is tone-deaf. Of course the Nazca lines were made by human beings, because that is just the sort of thing that human beings do.

Marking water sources will pay for the effort. Maybe a sop to "the gods" will silence the spouse who nags, "What, you're going off into the desert again? Can't you see that the roof is sagging, ...?"

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#6    sinewave

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 02:59 PM

It always seemed a bit absurd to me that aliens could traverse astronomical distances to reach us but needed the help of the natives in order to land.


#7    digitalartist

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 03:18 PM

One suggestion I read once was that they used primitive hot air balloons to get the height needed to direct the workers below.  I have no idea if this or true or even possible for them just throwing it out there.


#8    ShadowSot

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:14 PM

View Postdigitalartist, on 09 February 2010 - 03:18 PM, said:

One suggestion I read once was that they used primitive hot air balloons to get the height needed to direct the workers below.  I have no idea if this or true or even possible for them just throwing it out there.
Eh, I don't think it's possible, was reading a article about it over on the Hall of ma'at, the author did a pretty thorough job of debunking it.
http://www.hallofmaa...=article&sid=96

I remember watching a program on Nat Geo where they were able to see the designs from the nearby hills.

Never been there myself, so don't know how valid the opinion is.

Edited by ShadowSot, 09 February 2010 - 04:14 PM.

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#9    jaylemurph

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:38 PM

View PostParanormalcy, on 09 February 2010 - 07:20 AM, said:

I read that the lines COULD have been made, in theory, from the ground, by people very well versed in mathematics and probably trigonometry and understanding of shapes and measurements - while it is a "rational" explanation, even this seems extremely far fetched - I doubt there is anyone NOW, using only sticks and maybe rope, even with dozens of workers, that could really engineer something of this  magnitude, sophistication and accuracy, without being one of our top minds. But any alternatives are almost total speculation in fringe areas of "science".  

Just how well-versed do you have to be reduce and expand scale? It certainly doesn't involve trigonometry. Multiplication and division, maybe, but not trigonometry.

And why does the fact that you refuse to believe something have to do with a) its empirical truth or B) the intelligence of other people?

And, as pointed out by several other people (including Quais!) there are plenty of non-fringe-lunacy explanations to the creation and purpose of the Nazca lines. And, indeed, they are discussed in /numerous/ previous threads!

Quote

There is absolutely no known way they could have seen what these things looked like from the top down, from above - it reminds me a bit of the crop circle phenomenon, in that two guys with sticks and rope (coincidence?) CAN make some extremely convincing circles, even at night, with no one seeing them.

Well, that's patently not true. All the designs can be perfectly well seen from the side of local mountains. There's no need for people to have to be directly above them to be seen.

Quote

But again - WHY? What could they possibly need this for? UFO runways aside, since there was no practical reason for these, since they couldn't be taken in fully by the human eye, I can think of only the possibility that they were built and used as combinations of roads and symbols of praise and faith to gods, perhaps the trails were considered divine highways or something, as they were presented majestically to the only people that could possibly see them - the gods themselves, from the sky above.

Well, if you decide on your own (in disagreement with common sense, since nobody ever went to the time and trouble to built anything that big without a pressing reason, even if you -- or other people -- don't now know what that reason is) there is no practical reason, then there's really no point in discussing it with you. Some people think it is a manner of communicating with the gods, or water rights management -- both of which were pressing needs to the people who built them. I suggest you look up the writings of Johan Reinhard if you seriously have questions about the lines.

But it's a mistake to go around saying "Only the gods could see them."  Saying that only reinforces a sort of lazy militant ignorance about the lines (and just as importantly) the people who made them.

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#10    Riaan

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 08:48 PM

How do they explain these straight lines criss-crossing the valleys of the Palpa mountains, and the skimmed mountain tops?

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#11    jaylemurph

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:04 PM

View PostRiaan, on 09 February 2010 - 08:48 PM, said:

How do they explain these straight lines criss-crossing the valleys of the Palpa mountains, and the skimmed mountain tops?


I'm not sure, but none of those photos show that, in any case.

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#12    zoser

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:15 PM

Who said that the natives created the lines?  Who said that the lines were to assist landings?  

Lots of assumptions here.  Best stick to what is unarguably the case.

1) The lines are not natural.

2) The lines and patterns make sense only from the air, whether we like the fact or not.  The truth is the truth.

3)Connections to underground aquafers does not wash (excuse the pun).  What about the Monkey, spider, and the other art creations?

4)  How was the mountain top removed, and where did the waste material go?  What means did they have at their disposal to achieve this?  Why was it necessary?  

They clearly were trying to attract the attention of something, not terrestrial, and that something held huge importance that caused them to go to great lengths.


Remind you of anything requiring similar gargantuan effort?  Puma Punku, The GP perhaps?  Just a thought.  The nature of the creation is different, but the scale and impression it leaves on modern minds is just the same.

The greatest historic achievements on the planet all have religious causation, and not material or economic.  However, one must never assume that one understands what religion really is.  That takes development and special research.



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#13    jaylemurph

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:04 PM

View Postzoser, on 09 February 2010 - 09:15 PM, said:

2) The lines and patterns make sense only from the air, whether we like the fact or not.  The truth is the truth.

No, see, no matter how many times people say this, it doesn't magically become true. There are plenty of mountains nearby where one can sit and look at the figures. I haven't, I admit, but others here have.

Quote

3)Connections to underground aquafers does not wash (excuse the pun).  What about the Monkey, spider, and the other art creations?

Do you have any actual data to prove your point? Why should we believe you, with no data?

Quote

4)  How was the mountain top removed, and where did the waste material go?  What means did they have at their disposal to achieve this?  Why was it necessary?  

A lot of people with /shovels/? I agree their motives may be less than clear to us, but that doesn't mean they had some pressing cause, nor does that ambiguity make them a) less intelligent than us and therefore unable to individually use a shovel and B) less intelligent that us collectively, and therefore able to organize a lot of people to dig over time.

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They clearly were trying to attract the attention of something, not terrestrial, and that something held huge importance that caused them to go to great lengths.

Maybe, but that assumption is yours, and based on your own cultural imperatives. I take it for granted you know next to nothing about the actual people who created them, so with that being the case, don't you think it's a little hubristic to decide what they were doing and why?

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Remind you of anything requiring similar gargantuan effort?  Puma Punku, The GP perhaps?  Just a thought.  The nature of the creation is different, but the scale and impression it leaves on modern minds is just the same.

I concede the point. Human beings (especially under political and religious coercion) are able to do very big things.

It's telling indeed you blatantly try to define these things in terms of "the modern mind" despite the obvious fact they were not designed or created with such a thing in mind.

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The greatest historic achievements on the planet all have religious causation, and not material or economic.

The Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution qualify as much more significant and lasting historic achievements or developments and they are almost by definition non-religious and everything to do with materialism and economy.

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However, one must never assume that one understands what religion really is.  That takes development and special research.

I'm not sure you're any more qualified to go on about those than you are logic or history. Religion being what it is, though, if you contain yourself to that then I'm sure not comment.

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#14    Paranormalcy

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 12:39 AM

I'm not sure why instead of giving your own opinion on the apparent phenomenon of these famous lines,  jaylemurph, you have chosen to arrogantly refute and rather harshly criticize other members' ideas or guesses, but it really isn't very conducive to a cooperative spirit of sharing and analyzing information between different people and points of view.  I'm also not sure where from where you believe you have the authority to project intent, absolutism and levels of reasoning or stubbornness onto other people, but you are flatly mistaken in this assumption, and perhaps you should step back and re-evaluate your approach to objective observation and discussion of the topic, rather than display some inexplicable personal grudge against the topic or those interested in it or whatever it is that is clearly at work in your posts.


Moving on, I agree the lines could likely be seen from the mountains, though I'm still at a loss as to why they would be created even for this reason - it doesn't mean they weren't made for mountain viewing, but it doesn't mean they were either - it still stands that the required elevation to make sense of the lines is so high that there is really very little point in differentiating from 'the sky" and the mountains - they have to be viewed from an extremely high view.

I'm not sure about the water theory - I guess if the scientists are going with that, it must have been found to have some merit, though I don't have the education to guess why anyone would mark water sources or watersheds or whatever, with massive symbolic depictions, if only people up high can see them - if they have to climb a mountain to see the symbols, then the mountains themselves would be the landmarks anyway that would denote the water.  And I also find it odd that there is little evidence of actual clear depictions of water symbols, at least as far as my eyes can make out.

I concede the idea that people can follow a trail and get an idea in their head of a general pattern of their trek, but that also doesn't magically make sense out of giant monkey and spider shaped trails - I'm pretty sure if you traced out someone's walks through parks or even wild woods, you wouldn't find recognizable and accurate emulation of everyday concepts or images, even if the walker intentionally attempted to create them.  The only way that seems possible is constant communication and calculations between whoever is up on this hypothetical mountain, supervising the "construction" of the lines, with the ground workers, directing them where to go and how far - I can see this as plausible at least, though I disagree that sophisticated math and measuring was used for these tasks.  The idea of the creators using measurements based on specific lengths of some object, rope or sticks, for example, would be reasonable, and only the angles and distances would remain to be cyphered out, which would likely be possible by simply walking the distances to get exact count of "steps" or whatever unit of measurement being used.

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#15    Eldorado

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 12:49 AM

Saw a documentary before where it was mooted that they were "dance-lines".  The natives would form a sort of conga-line and bob their way along the shapes.  Round and round we go.





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