They’re not as large or as intricate as the Nazca Lines of Peru, but new geoglyphs discovered in Kazakhstan are expected to stimulate research and discussions on their origins and meanings.
At the just-concluded annual meeting in Istanbul of the European Association of Archaeologists, researchers from Kazakhstan's Kostanay University and Vilnius University in Lithuania presented their findings. Using excavations, ground-penetrating radar and the increasingly popular and useful Google Earth, the teams discovered over 50 geoglyphs in northern Kazakhstan.
Unlike the Nazca Lines, most of the Kazakhstan geoglyphs are earthen mounds constructed into shapes. Their sizes range from 90 to 400 meters and, even though they’re mounds, are much easier to see from the air than on the ground. One geoplyph in particular was constructed with timber.
The timber geoglyph is in the shape of a swastika and others are of crosses, squares and circles. While the researchers have not yet revealed what radar may have found inside the mounds, the areas surrounding them contain remnants of huts and hearths that were most likely used for ceremonies and rituals. While the mound shapes suggest a spiritual purpose, they could also have been used to show who owned the land.
While not as well known as the lines and mounds found in the United Kingdom, South America and parts of the U.S., more geoglyphs are now being discovered in the Middle East, Russia and central Asia. As with all of these enormous ancient pictures, the purpose and creators of the newly-discovered geoglyphs in Kazakhstan remain a mystery and research in the area goes on.