Friday, October 10, 2008

The Nazca Lines

High on an arid plateau in Peru, some 300 figures and geometric shapes are etched into the sand. The Nazca desert, south of Lima, is home to one of the most enduring mysteries of South America. Commonly called the Nazca Lines, these impressive ancient artworks were first discovered when commercial airplanes began to fly over the region. They cover an area that stretches over 400 square miles and their creation has been the subject of many weird and wonderful theories.

Perhaps the most famous of the Nazca Lines is the so-called “Astronaut” (see below). First discovered in 1982, it has led to the notion that these designs were created by an extraterrestrial intelligence. Other figures include animals and birds, a weird figure with two hands (one with five fingers and the other with four), symbols, and various objects. The creations are attributed to the Nazca people who dwelt in the region some 2,000 years ago and mysteriously disappeared 500 years later. Yet it has been impossible to accurately estimate the actual age of the Lines.

For the Nazca desert retains conditions that have preserved the massive artworks over what could amount to many thousands of years. Annual rainfall is nominal, and the surface of the plateau is stony and flat – preventing disturbance to the Lines by wind. It is only now, after much exploration by modern man and the tourist attraction the region has become, are the Nazca Lines of Peru beginning to deteriorate.

by Max Drake
(Max is a freelance writer and artist for GritFX.)

For more on the Nazca Lines of Peru, visit: http://www.crystalinks.com/nazca406.html

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