Who created the mysterious lines of Peru’s Nazca plateau?

A large outline on the ground of what appears to be a monkey on the Nazca Plateau

Who created these lines?

All the etched outlines in the Nazca Plateau

“… the images form an astounding body of work.”


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.

Jim Woodman in a bomber jacket

Jim Woodman

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:

“Scientists aren’t against the idea of necessarily extraterrestrials per se, but we do expect some evidence before we then start doing a lot of research in that direction.”

An abstract etching on the Nazca Plateau that is in the shape of a three pointed spear

Did this design help guide aliens?

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:

“We pirated a couple of broomsticks from the local hotel, some pieces of string, laid out a line, and we proceeded to clean and sweep away the surface of the line. It took us, a group of 12, one morning to make a line about 20 yards long, two yards wide, clear it completely, and here was a brand-spanking-new Nazca line.”

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:

“It took the tremendous leap of imagination to make these large models on the ground, which they themselves presumably did not see, not being able to fly.”

A sketch of the etching correlating their positions to that of the stars above

Some believe they pointed to the stars

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:

“The straight lines look like roadways. They start from someplace, they lead to someplace. So the idea that the lines are meant to be walked on seems to me to be a much more feasible one then the notion that somebody had to look at them from above. The animals are made out of a single… continuous line that begins and ends at the same point. I can imagine that a worshipper of a deity would walk around one of these animal figures to pray to the god or gods that had to do with that animal, that probably some invocation to the gods would’ve happened here.”

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.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Handal

    I Know.


  2. Robby Sharma

    These nazca lines or figures were made to practice battle formations of different types for huge armies to practice warfare.


  3. monkey

    the earth is shedding.


  4. Enrique

    Nazca is the best culture of Peru. Nazca is a culture pre inka. For more information in Nazca


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