Sunday, October 04, 2015


Anthropologists at Yamagata University have discovered 24 examples of the mysterious Nazca Lines in the arid region of southern Peru. The team began investigating the northern slopes of the urban areas of Nazca, Peru, from autumn 2013 and discovered 17 geoglyphs depicting llamas. This season they discovered five new examples near the area where they found geoglyphs the previous season, and 19 more on the slopes of a nearby mountain.

Discovered in the 1920s, the geoglyphs and line drawings of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. They are etched into the dusty soil and cover some 450 square kilometers.

The 24 newly discovered geoglyphs range from 5 to 20 meters in length, and are believed to date to around 400 BCE to 200 BCE, making them older than the iconic Nazca Line drawing known as the hummingbird. Most of the lines are heavily eroded, making them difficult to see with the naked eye. The researchers used equipment including a 3-D scanner to sketch out the patterns. Most of the drawings seem to depict llamas.

According to Masato Sakai, a professor of cultural anthropology at the university who is also the deputy director of the university's Nazca research institute: "There are no other areas concentrated with this many examples. Yet with both urban areas and farmland encroaching on the drawings, they are under the threat of being destroyed without being recognized as geoglyphs." The university plans to provide information to the Peruvian government's Culture Ministry, with which it is partnered, along with the city government of Nazca in the hopes of preserving the geoglyphs.

Edited from The Asashi Shimbun (8 July 2015)


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