These mysterious lines shaped in the forms of hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, whales, and even a spaceman were created by the Nazca people between 400 and 650 AD and rediscovered in the 1920's by Maria Reiche. Located in the high desert plateau of Nazca, are a series of ancient geoglyphs that can only be seen from the air.
The largest figures are over 660 feet across and there have been various theories as to their construction over the years. Erich von Daniken wrote in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods that the lines were built by ancient astronauts as a landing strip. Other theories include the ritual walking paths and memorial site of an ancient flood. Maria Reiche the most noted expert of the Nazca lines supposed that the lines were an astronomical calendar. The actual purpose of the lines is a mistery.
The Nazca lines were created by removing the iron-oxide rocks which cover the surface of the desert allowing the lighter color soil underneath to show through. The dry, windless and stable climatic conditions of the Nazca Plateau have allowed the Lines to remain intact through all these years.
The Nasca people who were expert weavers and artisans understood creating patterns. It was this understanding of patters that allowed these people to make magnificent drawings known as the Nazca Lines in a grand scale in the desert surround Nazca.
The dry Nazca Desert provided the perfect canvas for the geoglyphs. The hot sunny days and foggy nights prepared the soils. Factors which could have erased the lines hundreds of years ago like rain are nearly non-existent and the winds in the area were incapable of moving large stones.
The are more than 1000 lines in the Nazca Desert the first lines and the most popular are the biomorphs. The figures can be seen in a wide array of animals and objects. Shapes resemble a whale, dog, monkey llama, hummingbird, flamingo, condor, spaceman and there are many other. While there are many theories as to the creation of the figures from clan symbols to visual messages to alien beings the exact meaning of the figures is still unknown.
The most numerous of the Nazca Lines are the geometric lines which were created in a later period. There are over 800 straight lines that run across the pampa for kilometers. All but one of these lines begin from a star-like radial point which is often marked by a low mound. By following these straight lines one is led directly to a source of water. Recent theories regarding the geometric lines attribute their creation as a marker or map of the heaven as well as a source of precious water.