Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 40, Nasca Lines, Peru

OK, guys we are going to see the Nasca Amit, not NASCAR racing!!
We are now going to fly over the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, where the geoglyphs of Nasca and the pampas of Jumana cover about 450 km2. These lines, which were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. They are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions.

There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks or orcas, llamas, and lizards.

The lines are shallow designs in the ground where the reddish pebbles that cover the surrounding landscape have been removed, revealing the whitish earth underneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes, and more than seventy are natural or human figures. The largest are over 200 metres (660 ft) across.

The dry, windless, stable climate of the plateau has preserved the lines to this day, for the most part. Extremely rare changes in weather may temporarily alter the general designs.

Here we go ...question time??
Amit says "Could these geoglyphs be effigies of ancient animal gods or patterns of constellations?
Nopi says they look like roads, star pointers, maybe even a gigantic map?
Marti pipes up "If the people who lived here 2,000 years ago had only a simple technology, how did they manage to construct such precise figures? Did they have a plan? If so, who ordained it?

Sita thinks they are of religious significance.
Feroz believes that the geometric ones could indicate the flow of water or be connected to rituals to summon water while Jarca thinks the spiders, birds, and plants could be fertility symbols.

Other possible explanations include: irrigation schemes, giant astronomical calendars, or landing for spaceships.

Hmm, since you can only see the complete design from the air...I wonder ...did they have hot air balloons??

It all seems so otherworldly. To comprehend the Nasca lines, created by the removal of desert rock to reveal the pale pink sand beneath, visitors have proposed every imaginable explanation - from runways for spaceships to tracks for Olympic athletes, from op art to pop art, to astronomical observatories.
It is believed that the geoglyphs were built by a people called the Nasca- but why and how they created these wonders of the world has defied explanation.

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