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You are here: Index location Mysteries of the World location The Nasca Lines

The Nasca Lines

The Nasca Lines are huge geoglyphs in Peru associated with the Incan Civilization.

The giant patterns that can be seen from the air. They are many kilometers long.

The location of the geoglyphs, the Nazca Desert, has unique properties that contribute towards the long term preservation of the geoglyphs. It is one of the driest areas on Earth, with an average of only twenty minutes of rainfall per year.

The glyphs can be divided into 2 main categories:

The Paracas Geoglyphs

The Paracas Geoglyphs are a group of about 50 drawings of giant figures in the hills of Peru's southern coastal desert near the city of Palpa. They appear to have been created by the Paracas communities between 500 and 400 BC maybe earlier. They were drawn on the slopes of the hills. They are smaller and were made in a naturalistic style. They are mostly arranged in groups.The figures are of humans, birds, monkeys and cats. "One set of figures is known as the “Temple of Fertility” as one image represents a man, another a woman and the center image seems to represent a divine figure with a head from which emanates a series of rays that end in human heads". The Paracas figures were created by removing dark stones in order to expose the lighter surface underneath. Some areas were cleared and others built up with rock, creating figures in high and low relief. Their visibility is highly affected by the position of the sun.

The Nasca Geoglyphs

The Nasca Geoglyphs appear to have been created by Nazca culture developed after 50 BC. They were drawn on level areas. They are larger and more stylized. The Nazca figures are arranged individually. Not one of the earlier Paracas figures is repeated in the Nazca iconography.The geoglyphs were only made by clearing low-relief areas.

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