The mountainous and rugged terrain of Peru’s deserts have remained something of a mystery for many hundreds and thousands of years, but with modern technology as it’s very best, incredible ancient artwork has now been discovered that may date back from as far as 2,500 years.
Who might have created the artwork?
The artworks or geoglyphs (Greek for ‘earth carvings’), are officially known as Nazca Lines and were seen from the skies by drones flying overhead. They are thought to have been the work of the Nazca people and their predecessors from the Paracas and Topara cultures.
How many geoglyphs were discovered and how big are they?
There are approximately 50 geoglyphs found by the drones, and these add weight to the theory that such gigantic designs have a long history in the region and may not just have been conceived and made by the Nazca culture, one which flourished from A.D. 200 to 700.
Each marking on the ground is long and thin, some no more than inches across but with the length of a football pitch, and experts believe them to have been created by the ancient cultures who prospered long before the Nazca, from about 500 B.C to A.D 200.
The shapes include etchings of a monkey, a hummingbird, lizards, spiders and a pelican.
Have these lines ever been seen before?
In 1927, when a Peruvian archaeologist by the name of Toribio Mejia Xesspe was walking in the desert, he stumbled across the Nazca Lines and shortly after, the site became popular with tourists as airplane pilots offered flights over the area to give passengers a bird’s eye view of the ancient etchings.
Why were these ancient lines created?
Some experts theorize that the lines were made to represent the constellations of the night sky, while others believe them to have played a role in pilgrimage. There are those who also state that the lines were part of a water-based ritual that the Nazca carried out after they discovered how to irrigate the parched desert land.
Who exactly discovered them?
Not many of Peru’s ancient sites of archaeological interest have been mapped from the air, so an archaeologist from the University of Peru (who co-discovered the new glyphs) teamed up with a lady named Sarah Parcak, a space archaeologist and founder of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to begin mapping such sites from the skies.
Using aerial photography taken from top of the range drones and satellites, Parcak and the archaeologist began examining the sites and soon discovered new lines, in much the same way that Parcak and her colleagues did when they uncovered potential Viking sites in Newfoundland, Canada, back in 2016.
To discover ancient artwork for yourself, get down to your local drone store today! In all seriousness though, while drones for recreational purposes can be fun and informative, permits and permission from the relevant regulating authorities must be gained for any such project, and it’s probably best to leave some things to the experts!