A satellite image looking down on Kazakhstan from orbit. Image Credit: NASA
More than 50 previously unknown geoglyphs have been found sprawled across the north of the country.
Found using Google Earth's satellite maps, the geoglyphs depict a variety of different shapes and patterns including squares, rings, crosses and swastikas. Measuring between 295 to 1,312ft in diameter they are primarily made from mounds of dirt.
Archaeologists from Kazakhstan's Kostanay University and Lithuania's Vilnius University spent the better part of a year investigating the geogylphs using ground-penetrating radar, aerial photography and a variety of dating techniques.
Their excavations in the region unearthed evidence of structures and hearths at the same sites suggesting that whoever built the geoglyphs would have also conducted ritualistic practices there.
"As of today, we can say only one thing the geoglyphs were built by ancient people," the team wrote in an e-mail to Live Science. "By whom and for what purpose, remains a mystery."
The Kazakhstan geoglyphs are very similar to those found scattered across the Nazca desert in Peru despite there being a distance of more than 14,000km between them.
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Kazakhstan, Nazca, Geoglyphs