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Image credit: Maria Reiche

Nazca Lines

In the peruvian desert about 200 miles south of Lima there lies a plain between the Inca and Nazca valleys. Across this plain in an area measuring 37 miles long and 1 mile wide is an assortmant of perfectly straight lines, many running parallel, others intersecting to form a grand geometric form. In and around the lines there are also trapezodial zones, strange symbols and pictures of birds and beasts all etched on a giant scale that can only be apprecited from the air. The forms are so difficult to see from the ground that they were not discovered until the 1930s when a plane flew over the Nazca plateau and saw this gigantic art book. The figures come in two types: biomorphs and geoglyphs. The biomorphs include some 70 animal and plant figures that include a spider, hummingbird, monkey, whale, some kind of being, and a 1000 foot long pelican.

The spider is a member of a known spider genus- Ricinulei. This spider just happens to be one of the rarest spiders in the world, so rare that it has only been found in remote and inaccessible parts of the Amazon. How did the supposedly primitive people travel so far from their homeland, crossing the formidable barrier of the Andes to catch a specimen? They even duplicated minute details of the spiders anatomy, normally visible only under a microscope (reproductive organs). The whale and monkey are also out of place in this desert environment. There are 900 geoglyphs on the plain. These include straight lines, spirals, triangles, circles and trapazoids. They are enourmous in size. The longest straight line goes nine miles across the plain.

How were they made? The straight lines some say can be made easily for great distances with simple tools. The nazca lines were created by clearing the darkened pampa stones to either side and exposing the lighter sand underneath. Two wooden stakes placed as a straight line would be used to guide the placement of a third stake along the line. One person would sight along the first two stakes and instruct a second person in the placement of the new stake. This is repeated as many times as needed to make an almost perfectly straight line miles in length. The symbols were probably made by drawing the desired figure at some reasonable size then using a grid system to divide it up. The symbol could then be redrawn at full scale by recreating the grid on the ground and working on each individual square one at a time.

Paul Kosok suggested that the lines were astronomically significent and that the plain acted as a giant observatory however astronomer Gerald Hawkins tested this theory and found it to be false. The most recent theory is that the geoglyphs may be related to water. The Nazca plain is one of the driest places on Earth getting less than one inch of rain a year. Researchers while looking for sources of water in the region noticed that ancient aquaducts seemed to be connected with some of the lines. Researchers think that the shapes may be a giant map of the underground water sources traced on the land.

Related entries: Antikythera Mechanism, Ark of the Covenant, Atlantis, Crystal Skulls, Easter Island, Eltanin Antenna, Legend of the Circle of 13 Skulls, Nazca Lines, Plain of Jars, Voynich Manuscript

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