The Nazca Lines are really impressive. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen on this adventure.
They are one of the great archeological mysteries of South America. The lines, animal figures and geometrical shapes are drawn across 190 sq mi of the bleak, stony Nazca Plain. The lines stretch on for several miles in length, while the animal figures and geometric shapes, vary in size reaching nearly 300 meters long. They were created between 500BC-500AD by removing about 5 inches of the reddish stone at the surface of the desert, exposing the light colored clay below. Also interesting is each figure is drawn with a continuous, uninterrupted line.
There are competing theories as to why the Nazca people created the lines and figures. Anytime there are multiple plausible theories, the truth likely lies somewhere in-between. Most theories agree that the lines had something to do with water. Some theories include:
- The lines were paths that the Nazca people walked during ceremonies to summon water
- The lines marked water sources for underground aqueducts
- The lines tracked the seasons through astrology as some point to the sun at the solstices
The animal figures are believed to have been intended to be seen by their gods and may symbolize fertility.
The Nazca Lines are best appreciated from above so we took an aerial tour (in the smallest plane I’ve ever been in). Thanks Leah, for the heads-up on taking dramamine! Another passenger lost his breakfast in the barf bag. Yuck.
Yesterday, on the way to Nazca we stopped at the Casa Museo y Mausoleo Maria Reiche. Originally from Germany, Maria devoted her life to the study of the Nazca Lines and was considered the greatest expert on the subject. She was La Dama de las Lineas (The Lady of the Lines).
A mummy from the Nazca culture is on display in the museum. The dry desert heat has preserved her through time.
At an observation tower on the Pan-American Highway we climbed up and saw the figures of the “Hands” and “Tree”.
The next morning we went on the aerial tour.
Hummingbird (93m long)
Hummingbird (93m long)
Triangles, trapezoids, crisscrossing lines, and water erosion on the Nazca Plain:
The valley made fertile from underground aqueducts.