Nazca Lines World Heritage Site

Large geoglyphs made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in Peru

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Coordinates: 14°43′S 75°08′W / 14.717°S 75.133°W / -14.717; -75.133

Lines and Geoglyphs
of Nasca and Palpa Cultures
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Líneas de Nazca, Nazca, Perú, 2015-07-29, DD 49.JPG
Aerial photograph of one of the Nazca lines, taken in July 2015, that shows the design known as "The monkey"
LocationNazca Desert, Peru
CriteriaCultural: i, iii, iv
Inscription1994 (18th session)
Area75,358.47 ha
Coordinates14°43′S 75°08′W / 14.717°S 75.133°W / -14.717; -75.133
Nazca Lines is located in Peru
Nazca Lines
Location of Nazca Lines in Peru

The Nazca Lines /ˈnæzkɑː/ are a group of very large geoglyphs made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.[1] They were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by people making depressions or shallow incisions in the desert floor, removing pebbles and leaving differently colored dirt exposed.[2]

Most lines run straight across the landscape, but there are also figurative designs of animals and plants. The individual figurative geoglyph designs measure between 0.4 and 1.1 km (.2 and .7 mi) across. The combined length of all the lines is over 1,300 km (800 mi), and the group cover an area of about 50 km2 (19 sq mi). The lines are typically 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) deep. They were made by removing the top layer of reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles to reveal a yellow-grey subsoil.[3][2] The width of the lines varies considerably, but over half are slightly over one-third meter (just over 1 foot) wide.[1][4] In some places they may be only 30.5 cm (1 ft) wide, and in others reach 1.8 m (6 feet) wide.[1]

Some of the Nazca lines form shapes that are best seen from the air (~500 m, 1,500 ft), though they are also visible from the surrounding foothills and other high places.[5][6][7] The shapes are usually made from one continuous line. The largest ones are about 370 m (1,200 ft) long.[3] Because of its isolation and the dry, windless, stable climate of the plateau, the lines have mostly been preserved naturally. Extremely rare changes in weather may temporarily alter the general designs. As of 2012, the lines are said to have been deteriorating because of an influx of squatters inhabiting the lands.[8]

The figures vary in complexity. Hundreds are simple lines and geometric shapes; more than 70 are zoomorphic designs, including a hummingbird, spider, fish, condor, heron, monkey, lizard, dog, cat, and a human. Other shapes include trees and flowers.[2] Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general, they ascribe religious significance to them.[9][10][11][12] They were designated in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  1. ^ a b c Sebastian Dorsch; Jutta Vinzent (2017). SpatioTemporalities on the Line: Representations-Practices-Dynamics. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-3-11-046578-5.
  2. ^ a b c "Nazca Lines". Guía Go2peru. 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  3. ^ a b Glomb, Jason. "Nasca Lines". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 28 September 2019.
  4. ^ Anthony F. Aveni (1990). The Lines of Nazca. American Philosophical Society.
  5. ^ Gardner's Art Through the Ages: Ancient, medieval, and non-European art. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 1991. ISBN 978-0-15-503770-0.
  6. ^ Hinman, Bonnie (2016).Mystery of the Nazca Lines. ABDO; ISBN 978-1-68077-242-5. pp. 6–.
  7. ^ Anthony F. Aveni (2000). Between the Lines: The Mystery of the Giant Ground Drawings of Ancient Nasca, Peru. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-70496-1. pp. 88–.
  8. ^ Taj, Mitra (August 15, 2012). "Pigs and squatters threaten Peru's Nazca lines". Reuters. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  9. ^ Helaine Selin (2013). Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures. Springer Science & Business Media; ISBN 978-94-017-0149-5. pp. 286–.
  10. ^ Richard A. Freund (2016). Digging Through History: Archaeology and Religion from Atlantis to the Holocaust. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-0883-4. pp. 22–.
  11. ^ Mary Strong (2012). Art, Nature, and Religion in the Central Andes: Themes and Variations from Prehistory to the Present. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73571-2. pp. 33–.
  12. ^ Religion and the Environment. Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2016. ISBN 978-0-230-28634-4. pp. 110–.

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