The number of mysterious Peruvian geoglyhs known as the Nazca Lines grew by a few recently after a pilot flying over the Valley of El Ingenio in the Nazca plains discovered enormous new drawings uncovered by recent sandstorms.
El Comercio reports that pilot Eduardo Herran and researcher Gómez de la Torre spotted a 196 ft-long snake, a camel or llama and an unidentified bird on an inspection trip over the hills of El Ingenio Valley and Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima. These new figures are in an area with existing geoglyphs of a dog, a hummingbird, a condor and a monkey. These differ from those in another area that are mostly lines and geometric shapes such as spirals, triangle and rectangles.
Contrary to popular belief, the Nazca Lines are visible from nearby hills, not just from airplanes. Numerous theories exist on why they were made, many of a spiritual nature. The lines converge at the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The spiral may have been a maze or labyrinth used for meditative walking.
An interesting theory is that the geoglyphs are related to water, weather and gods of rain. The animal and bird drawings appear to made using a single line that never crosses itself. One triangular geoplyph runs along water veins inside the Cerro Blanco mountain. The hummingbird geoglyph only appears in the summer following heavy rainfall. According to local folklore, rain will come when a condor flies over the mountain.
A recent theory is that the shapes were road markers to guide visitors to regional markets and fairs. And, with their massive size, there’s always the possibility that they are messages for – or from – visiting space travelers.
Whatever they are and wherever they’re from, the geoglyphs are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and registered with Peru’s National Registry of Cultural Property to protect them from destruction.