Jan 10, 2008
Consisting of over 300 geometric figures, 800 straight lines, and 70 biomorphic drawings in the sand, the Nazca Lines in Peru are one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries. It is widely believed that many generations of the ancient Paracas and Nazca cultures dating from 900 BC to AD 600 constructed the lines by simply re-arranging the desert floor. The unique environment of this 500 square km of vast desert, named the Pampa Colorado, has preserved these ancient drawings for thousands of years.
Discovered in the 1920’s by the first commercial flights over Peru, the Nazca Lines are best viewed by air.
While the various birds, whales, hands, and other geomorphic figures can span up to 180 meters across, it is the miles upon miles of straight continuous lines criss-crossing this vast desert that truly captivate one’s curiosity.
Why did this primitive culture spend hundreds of years creating such curious shapes in this seemingly lifeless land? Were they gifts to the gods, landing strips for alien ships, a map of various underground water sources, or possibly the world’s largest astrological calendar? Furthermore, how could they have been constructed with such precision if they can only be viewed from above?
Many theories abound. None are very convincing.
We spent about 35 minutes flying above these fascinating creations in a small Cesna 172 airplane. While the world may never know the true meaning of these archaic lines, they are truly a captivating sight. Once in the air, it is clear that this desert is one of the largest pieces of canvas on which an ancient culture has created art on a truly magnificent scale. It is a beautiful mystery that not even Robert Stack can likely solve.