Who created the mysterious lines of Peru’s Nazca plateau?
In South America, monumental drawings have been etched into the desert plain. Were they created to calm angry gods, to map out the heavens, or perhaps to welcome visitors from another galaxy? Welcome to the Nazca plateau, 100 square miles of unanswered questions in western Peru.
On the eastern corner of the plateau is a drawing of a spider. It’s formed by a single line that starts and ends in the same place. But for what purpose? Another drawing is of a gigantic monkey that could fill two football fields. More than 800 straight lines shoot across the plateau. Laid end to end, they total 1,000 miles. Evidence suggests that the ancient Nazcas, famous for their ceramic art, inscribed the giant drawings between 1,500 and 2,500 years ago. However, the Nazcas left little behind that tells us the meaning of the figures or reveals how they were made. Nearly a thousand lines, geometric shapes, and figures are tattooed across the Nazca plateau. When they are mapped and catalogued, the images form an astounding body of work.
In the late 1960s, author Erich Von Daniken proposed an interesting theory to explain the drawings. He claimed that some of the markings were nothing less than giant landing strips for alien spacecraft. In his book “Chariots of the Gods,” Von Daniken suggested the ancient Nazcas had regarded the aliens as gods and had constructed the runways under their direct orders.
However, Dr. Johan Reinhard of the Field Museum and Mountain Institute disagreed with Von Daniken’s theory:
Dr. Reinhard and other scientists believe that the plateau is an immense outdoor cathedral. But that theory still doesn’t answer how the drawings were created?
Then in 1982, archeologists tried to figure out how the Nazcas made the lines. They decided to replicate the whole process using the simplest of tools. Dr. Anthony F. Aveni, a professor at Colgate University, was among the group of archaeologists:
Dr. Aveni’s line looked similar to some of the other figures. But how did the Nazca artists accurately model gargantuan figures like the sprawling monkey while looking at them only from ground level?
According to Dr. Reinhard, creating a simple Nazca line that was 20 yards long and the giant sprawling monkey were two entirely different tasks:
Jim Woodman, a British author and explorer, argued that maybe they did fly. To prove his point, Woodman hired a Peruvian craftsman to stitch together a hot-air balloon from materials that would have been available to the ancient Nazcas. A raging campfire provided the requisite hot air. Perhaps for the first time in centuries, the figures were seen from a hot air-balloon hundreds of feet above the desert.
However, Dr. Aveni still believed that the lines were meant to be experienced from the ground:
In the end, there are still no answers. Those who created the wondrous artworks of Nazca have been dead now for centuries, buried in tombs that ring the plateau. Over the years, their bones have been carelessly scattered by grave robbers. However, the ancient mysteries of Nazca will in all likelihood, remain undisturbed forever.