Scoot over giant spider and monkey desert carvings—there are new Nazca lines in town.
Researchers at Yamagata University (Japan) and IBM Japan have made “new ancient” a thing by discovering 143 geoglyphs in the Nazca desert. Using artificial intelligence the experts uncovered desert carvings depicting reptiles, humanoids (outlined in main image), fish and other creatures.
The findings are so diverse in composition and purpose that they have been split into two categories: type A and type B.
The line drawings representing the Type A group are characterized by their large size (over 50 meters). Due to the massive size, it is thought these drawings served ritualistic purposes. Believed to have been created between 100 CE-300 CE, Type A is the younger of the two sets.
The largest design of this group stretches over 100 meters, meaning it would stand taller than the Statue of Liberty (which measures 93 meters).
This group is distinguished by solid colored surfaces and are smaller in comparison (less than 50 meters). Type B is believed to be much older, dating back to 100 BCE – 100 CE. Present during the Initial Nazca period, these geoglyphs were likely multi-purpose: to be decorative and to serve as markers for those passing through the nearby slopes and pathways.
“All of these figures were created by removing the black stones that cover the land, thereby exposing the white sand beneath,” the research team explained in a press release.
Why these geoglyphs appeared is not known for certain. Deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, the entire collection of Nazca lines (which totals over a thousand) remain a mystery since their discovery in the early 20th century.
Located 250 miles (400 km) south of Lima, this collection of geoglyphs is credited to the Nazca culture (100 BCE – 800 CE). Running along the southern coast of Peru, the arid Nazca Pampa is decorated with straight lines, geometric shapes and pictorial representations. The climate has helped to preserve the pieces over the course of 2000 years.
To truly appreciate these mysterious and massive artworks it’s recommended to fly over them by plane.
Photo: Yamagata University via El Comercio
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