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The Mystery of Peru’s Nasca Lines

posted in: Strange  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on September 10, 2008  |  6 Comments

A flight over Peru will reveal gorgeous landscapes, incredible mountain scenery, and sparkling blue waters. Most people visiting Peru make a stop in Lima, the bustling capital, but only a few of those will dare to leave Lima for a trip into the unknown.

Depending on which direction you are coming from when you leave for Peru, you may or may not look down at the ground and notice astoundingly clear drawings in the earth. These drawings, also known as geoglyphs, are found in a stretch of desert over 300 miles outside of the city in a place where it is believed the Nasca civilization once lived. The geoglyphs are fondly referred to now as the Nasca Lines.

Nasca Lines Hummingbird

The entire display covers over 150 square miles of land. The lines, shapes, and animal depictions range in size from under a hundred feet to the largest, which is almost 1,000 feet in length.

It’s difficult to see the lines, or even grasp their magnificence, from the ground. Visitors to the area often witness the Nasca Lines as they fly overhead on their way to another destination, if they pay to take a short plane tour, or if they charter their own aircraft for an adventure in exploration.

Nasca Lines Spider

One thing is for sure. Scientists have never been able to explain how the Nasca Lines came into existence. There are, of course, several myths that have been created – some based on pure theory, and others hinted at by scientific research.

Did the Nasca have an Alien Encounter?

One group of people interviewed believed strongly that the Nasca were victims of an alien encounter. It has been said that an alien space craft once landed in the area, crushing everything in its path. Some researchers believe that one set of Nasca Lines was developed to describe the gods that came to visit.

Nasca Lines Alien

These gods supposedly had long, narrow heads. The Nascans were so enamored by these gods that they attempted to shape their own heads in a similar manner. Newborn babies often had wooden boards wrapped around their heads so that the skull would grow into a molded, elongated shape.

Scientists have found proof of this head-wrapping ritual. Many entombed bodies have been found with elongated skulls. We can not, however, find documentation proving that their actions were influenced by sort of alien god.

Were the Lines Left as a Map?

The desert is a dry and desolate place. Perhaps the Nasca created some of the lines as maps to help them find water. To the naked eye looking down from above, this sounds relatively unreasonable, as there is no water in sight in this area.

Nasca Lines Whale

The Nasca knew better. After exploring anywhere from 50-100 feet beneath the surface they had found the earth’s natural watering system. The ground beneath the desert was the perfect consistency for a series of aquifers to form, leading the people to a continuous fresh water supply.

Along the Ceque Lines, the forty two lines running from Qoricancha Temple, you’ll notice holes in the ground that resemble cave entrances. These were placed along the lines, or the lines were meant to encompass these entrances, in an attempt to help the people keep track of the points where they could access the clean water trapped beneath the surface of the desert.

The True Purpose of the Nasca Lines

Truth be told, we’ll never know exactly why the Nasca Lines were created. Scientists and archaeologists have spent decades studying the lines in an attempt to determine whether or not they had a true purpose.

Nasca Lines Monkey

Some have found a correlation between the lines and the constellations. The geoglyph shaped like a monkey, for example, follows the pattern of stars forming the big dipper. It is believed that the Nasca may have created the lines to act as a map for their astrological finds. Perhaps they even represent some sort of complex solar or astrological calendar.

There is some evidence that suggests that the Nasca Lines were not an original creation. Another set of ancient geoglyphs, created by the Paracas, closely resembles those left by the Nasca. The Paracas existed before the Nasca, meaning they either left their lines as lessons or were around to teach the Nasca how to create their own.

Nazca Lines Flower

The Nasca Lines have been in existence for over 2,000 years. Sadly, while the lines can withstand the harshest weather Peru can muster, they can not defend themselves against destruction caused by humans. Hikers, bikers, and trailblazers in many types of motorized vehicles attempt to explore and cross over the lines on a daily basis, causing irreparable damage.

The Nasca Lines have been recognized as a Worldwide Heritage Site and are monitored and protected on a regular basis. Despite their fame, the true history behind the creation of the Nasca Lines will likely remain a mystery forever.

More Information about the Nasca Lines…

Nazca Lines, Peru – Nazca Lines The Nazca lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches more than 80 km (50 miles) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. …

Sandboarding and some stress above the Nasca Lines – We we headed for the town of Nasca where we were going to fly over the mysterious Nasca lines. Now the husband, his mother, her sister, and her daughter have dreamt of visiting the Nasca lines since the 1970s thanks to one Mister Erich …

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Responses to this Article

6 Responses to “The Mystery of Peru’s Nasca Lines”

  1. Rebecca Zwar says on

    I’ve seen these on tv before, and they’re absolutely fascinating! I’d love to see them in person.

  2. Greg@AzerothCookbook says on

    Those are some pretty impressive earthworks. I like the idea of the lines being about water and obviously they had to have some real importance. Otherwise that’s a lot of work for not much.

    Most people’s have had various Gods inhabiting the sky or high places. It makes sense that the images were made for these gods to view.

  3. Sandy says on

    No matter how far we evolve it never ceases to amaze us that there are unexplained things like those shapes.

    When looking at this photos it really brings me down to earth and thankful just being able to see them.

  4. Thomas says on

    I have seen these lines on TV. If anyone would like to see them in person visit my website and book your trip.

  5. snowboarder says on

    Sandboarding isn’t really that awesome, I tried it once.

  6. Hotel Paracas a Luxury Collection says on


    In light of last weekend’s tsunami warning, we would like to make the following statement:

    The Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort, did not suffer any damage whatsoever, was unaffected by any flooding, and operated under normal conditions throughout the entire weekend.

    In terms of the hotel’s Ballestas Islands tours offered by its activity department, T’ikariy, these restarted yesterday after the Port Authority closed the entire port on Saturday and partially closed it on Sunday. Both the motorboats and the private yacht that take guests to the islands are operating normally and following their customary schedules.

    We would also like to remind our patrons that the T’ikariy operated 2008 Cessna Grand Caravan airplane has also recommenced its flights over the Nazca Lines today and that it only flies out of the Pisco Airport (not the Nazca Airfield). Furthermore, we wish to stress that the airplane’s instruments and mechanical components are strictly maintained according to the requirements of the General Directorate of the Civil Aeronautics of Peru (DGAC) and the plane is flown under the command of a duly certified pilot and co-pilot.

    We would like to thank all tour agencies and operators for their confidence in us and to assure them that T’ikariy will continue offering them completely safe services for their clients.

    Lima, Peru
    March 2, 2010


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