The Nazca Lines are huge images in the Nazca Desert in Peru. On an area of 500 square kilometers puzzling lines, figures as well as animal and human representations pervade the landscape. These geoglyphs were discovered around 1920 with the beginning of commercial air travel, when passengers could see the enigmatic drawings from the air. Little is known about the origin and purpose of geoglyphs. Similar representations on ceramics of the Nazca culture make up most of the desert images for this people, which flourished between the second century BC and the sixth century AD. Today’s research has shown that some of the images must have been taken several centuries before, during the period of Paracas culture. The mysterious Nazca inhabited the valleys of the Rio Nazca, Rio Palpa and Rio Ingenio. Its religious and cultural center was the pyramid town of Cahuachi near the Scharrlinien. The desert drawings were created by the removal of the uppermost layer of sand, beneath which came the lighter, light brown sedimentary rock. This way, clearly visible oversized drawings were created from a distance.
The fact that the bearers of both cultures, who are named after important sites, apparently one and the same people, is just one of the many discoveries, the scientists of the Commission for Archeology of Non-European Cultures of the German Archaeological Institute in cooperation with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and other partners in their ongoing since 1997 excavations have made. Traces of larger groups Newcomers to the region have not been found so far.
Nonetheless, geoglyphs have undergone a fundamental transformation over the centuries. At first, the people of Paracas made rock paintings of a few meters in size. Soon, however, they transferred these images from the vertical to the horizontal, to the demarcated ridge between the cut valleys of the rivers flowing from the Andes towards the sea, and the dry plateaus above, the so-called pampas. These figurative ground drawings, representing animals like hummingbirds or fish, grew larger over time. An orca, whose discovery was recently known, measures about 60 meters long and is dated to 200 BC, ie to the time in which shifted the center of culture from Paracas to Nasca.