The high desert of Peru holds one of the most mystifying monuments of the known world—the massive-scale geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines. Ranging from geometric patterns to “drawings” of different animals and stylized human-like forms. The ancient lines can only be truly taken in, their forms discerned, from high in the air, leaving generations mystified as to how these precise works could’ve been completed long before the documented invention of human flight. Who built them and what was their purpose? Are the lines signs left by an alien race? Ancient “crop circles”? Landing strips for alien gods/astronauts? Relics of a ancient people far more advanced—capable of human flight—then previously imagined? Or perhaps a giant astronomical calendar?
Nazca Lines – Description
The Nasca Lines are located in the Pampa region of Peru. The desolate plain of the Peruvian coast which comprises the Pampas of San Jose (Jumana), Socos, El Ingenio and others in the province of Nasca, which is 400 Km. South of Lima, covers an area of approximately 450 square km, of sandy desert as well as the slopes of the contours of the Andes.
The Lines were first spotted when commercial airlines began flying across the Peruvian desert in the 1920’s. Passengers reported seeing ‘primitive landing strips’ on the ground below. No one knew who had built them or indeed why. Since their discovery, the Nasca Lines have inspired fantastic explanations.
The Nazca plain is virtually unique for its ability to preserve the markings upon it, due to the combination of the climate (one of the driest on Earth, with only twenty minutes of rainfall per year) and the flat, stony ground which minimises the effect of the wind at ground level. With no dust or sand to cover the plain, and little rain or wind to erode it, lines drawn here tend to stay drawn. These factors, combined with the existence of a lighter-coloured subsoil beneath the desert crust, provide a vast writing pad that is ideally suited to the artist who wants to leave his mark for eternity.
The pebbles which cover the surface of the desert contain ferrous oxide. The exposure of centuries has given them a dark patina. When the gravel is removed, they contrast with the color underneath. In this way the lines were drawn as furrows of a lighter color, even though in some cases they became prints. In other cases, the stones defining the lines and drawings form small lateral humps of different sizes. Some drawings, especially the early ones, were made by removing the stones and gravel from their contours and in this way the figures stood out in high relief.
The concentration and juxtaposition of the lines and drawings leave no doubt that they required intensive long-term labor as is demonstrated by the stylistic continuity of the designs, which clearly correspond to the different stages of cultural changes.
There appear to be two kinds of designs: the first are figures of various beings and things and the others form geometric lines. The former consists of figures of animals, plants, objects, such as anthropomorphic figures of colossal proportions made with well-defined lines. Of these figures which have been restored by Maria Reiche and other collaborators about 70 are known.
There are also drawings of flowers and plants, as well as representations of deformed animals and other strange figures. An example of this is the drawing of a weird being with two enormous hands, one normal and the other with only four fingers. Also represented are drawings of man-made objects such as yarn, looms and “tupus” (ornamental clasps). All these figures have well-defined entrances which could be used as paths or to allow people to line together along the conformations of the drawings.
The anthropomorphic figures are relatively few and are situated on the slopes. The most well-known being The Astronaut at 32m length and E.T., discovered by Eduardo Herran in 1982. Others are The Man with a Hat and The Executioner and they also appear to be the most primitive. These figures are very similar to the small petroglyphs found in the rocky areas of the region.
In terms of the lines, many kilometers long, they crisscross sectors of the pampas in all directions. Many of the lines form geometric figures: angles, triangles, bunches, spirals, rectangles, wavy lines, etc. Other lines form concentric circles converging with or emanating from a promontory. Other prints have formed “roads” like geometric planes and appear to have been occupied by large groups of the population. Many of the lines are random and seem to have no pattern to them. They are seen over the scattered seemingly at random over the desolate plain, crossing and intersecting for no apparent reason.
Explore Nazca Lines with Google Earth
If you have Google Earth installed, use this Nazca Google Earth Placemark file (Save and Open) and it will fly you to a location*. If not, you will need to install Google Earth first (available at http://earth.google.com ).
Google Earth streams the world over wired and wireless networks enabling users to virtually go anywhere on the planet and see places in photographic detail. This is not like any map you have ever seen. This is a 3D model of the real world, based on real satellite images combined with maps, guides to restaurants, hotels, entertainment, businesses and more. You can zoom from space to street level instantly and then pan or jump from place to place, city to city, even country to country.
These large (hundreds of meters) “landing strips” seem to be much older than glyphs (based on signs of erosion). There is no acceptable explanation so far… Click on images below to see full screen photos.
The Nazca Lines Theories
Here are theories proposed by various writers and scientists.
Astronomical Mayan influence in Nazca?
Gilbert de Jong noticed that sites of Izapa (14.8 N) and Nasca (Cahuachi) 14.8 S might be related and exhibit Mayan influence.
In fact there is an account of the landing of strange men, possibly priests (because there were no women among them so they didn’t plan to establish themselves), near Puerto Viejo (Ecuador). According to this legend these strangers/giants founded a site that, because of the cisterns, matches the places of the Ica-Nasca region.
According to Dr. Malmstrom, the Mayan astronomers traveled north to find the place ‘where the sun stood stil’ (Chalchihuites or Alta Vista, near Tropic of Cancer, founded about 500 AD).
Would it be a strange thing to assume they also traveled south?
Perhaps in earlier times…
If they did, they first would have noticed the equator and find that the the sun traveled in both directions the same amount of days. When they realized this, they must have concluded that there must be a place, like Izapa, where the calendar of 260 days could also be used.
So the Maya astronomers traveled to the south and found a place 14.8° S: Cahuachi/Nasca. This place worked out to be an excellent (mirror) place of Izapa.
Both Gerald Hawkins, an astronomer, and Maria Reiche were not aware of this strange 14.8° coincidence. The simple truth might be that Mayan astronomers ‘created’ Nasca.
August 13 (1359 BC) is a date that marked the sacred Mayan calendar.
Could it be so that, when they discovered that Nasca was an excellent place to take long time measures, they discovered the secret of the Venus risings and settings? Could it be so that they could ‘Turn back time’ and find the position of planets and stars around 1,359 BC? Is that what the Nasca lines were about?
The three Nasca circles (GGF drawing) measured by Gilbert de Jong several years ago might refer to a sacred date. Wouldn’t it be great? Mayans? This might be the answer on what Nasca really is: astronomical Mayan influence.
Here is a story from the book of chronicler and Inca Garcilaso de La Vega.
Also skeletons of whales of been found near Nasca. How things can get mixed up in time…
Erich von Däniken – Cargo-Cult
Erich von Däniken’s theory is the most famous approach to solve the mystery of Nazca. He had the idea that long time ago visitors from other stars visited the earth and naturally Nazca. At this place they landed, during the landing stones was blown away by the power of rocket propulsion. By approaching more the power was increasing and the cleaned band broader. In this way the first trapezes emerged. Later the Aliens disappeared and left confused people. Like in the modern cargo cults they tried to call the Gods back by drawing lines, figures and trapezes. Never Däniken said the formations was made by Aliens. He discovered the GGF/Mandala/Zodiac and the mirror – Formation and compares them with modern VASIS or PAPI-Signs. Visit his website.
Alan F. Alford – Negroid Slaves
This theory means the Nazca-Lines was made by Negroid Slaves of the Tihuanaco Culture. After a revolution the Negroid population destroyed some figure, this is the explanation for overdrawn zigzag-formations. Later this people went in northern direction and founded Chavin and the Olmec culture.
Robert Bast – A memory of the Deluge
Robert Bast from Australia has a very interesting theory. All these animal, plant and human-shaped figures are lying together on the ground. So it could be a memorial place of the big flood. Many cultures of our world know deluge-myths, you can find a couple of them at his Side. Or visit directly the URL of his Nazca-Theory.
Gilbert de Jong was himself in Nazca and measured the GGF by GPS. He obtained a length of the square side of about 54,7 Meter. In the formation he recognized a Zodiac.
Robin Edgar – Solar Eclipses
Robin Edgar from Canada proposes that the Nazca-Figures were inspired by, and intended to be seen by, the (so-called) “Eye of God” that is manifested during total solar eclipses. An extraordinary series of solar eclipses coincided with the construction of the Nazca lines. Some Lines are aligned with the winter solstice, a less spectacular but more regular, “death” and “rebirth” of the Sun God.
Maria Reiche – Astronomical Theory
Maria Reiche, the most famous Nazca-Researcher, prefer the astronomical theory. Lines should show in direction of the rising of important stars and planetary events like sun solstices. Formations like the spider and the monkey could show star constellations like Orion and Ursa Mayor.
The big problem of all astronomical theories is the unknowing of the age. The direction of stars is changing within centuries because the phenomena of precession.
Reiche has led a determined effort to discredit the von Daniken theory of extraterrestrials. The strategy of this attack has been to argue that the Nazca Indians constructed the Lines relatively recently – some time between 300 BC and AD 800. In support of this possibility, some scientists have put forward ingenious ideas on how the geoglyphs could theoretically have been designed from the ground. The more important evidence, however, is that which attempts to link the Lines definitively to the Nazcan culture. Here, neither of the two key pieces of evidence survive close scrutiny.
The first piece of evidence is a series of radiocarbon dates, based on ceramic and wood remains which were left at the Lines by the Nazcan people. It is claimed that this proves that the Nazcans constructed the Lines. On the contrary, the dating of these materials tells us only that the Nazcans lived in the area of the Lines. Since the Lines themselves cannot be radiocarbon dated, the possibility remains that they already existed when the Nazcan culture emerged.
The second piece of evidence is the alleged resemblance of the Nazca geoglyphs to certain features found on Nazcan pottery. This is an important issue because it potentially offers proof that the Nazcans had either designed the images or at least viewed them from the air.
Maria has her theories but no conclusive proof as to their construction.
In 1968, a study by the National Geographic Society determined that, whilst some of the Nazca lines did point to the positions of the Sun, Moon and certain stars two thousand years ago, it was no more than could be expected by mere chance. In 1973, Dr Gerald Hawkins studied 186 lines with a computer programme and found that only 20 per cent had any astronomical orientation – again no more than by pure chance. In 1982, Anthony Aveni obtained similar results, whilst in 1980, Georg Petersen pointed out that Reiche’s theory did not explain the different lengths and widths of the lines. More recently, Johan Reinhard has noted that the surrounding mountains provided a ready-made and much more effective mechanism for the Nazcans to use as a solar calendar; the lines would thus have been quite superfluous to them. In addition to this avalanche of scientific opinion, we should also note that Reiche, like von Daniken, has failed to explain the significance of the animal geoglyphs.
Maria Reiche, the German mathematician and archaeologist most famous for her research into the enigmatic figures of Nazca, died in 1998 at the age of 95. She is buried in the arid valley she loved so well.
Simone Waisbard – Astronomical Calendar
Simone Waisbard writes that the drawing of Nazca are a giant astronomical calendar. Further the Nazca-line-system was used to measure the precipitation value. Figures, especially seabirds, have a connection to the meteorological prophecy system of the Nazca-Culture. Her ideas for the trapezoid formations: places for holy animals before sacrifice them, or field claims connected with filter galleries, observatories or places for ritual ceremonies of the different clans.
Professor Gerald Hawkins – No astronomical context
Hawkins and his group went to Nazca to prove the astronomical Theory of Maria Reiche. The made new and precise survey and analyzed the course of important stars by using new computer software. This Software included the star positions of the last 6900 years. After weeks of work they had very disappointed to say: We didn’t find any astronomical context.
Jim Woodmann – The Balloon Theory
Jim Woodmann made a experiment in Thor Heyerdahl’s way. He let make a balloon of fine Peruvian cotton, and a basket made by Aymara-Indians. This flying object was called condor. Hot air from a fire was brought into the balloon, and really, the balloon flied away after the two pilots was escaped. So Woodmann had a new theory, they used black balloons to bury their kings.
Prof. Anthony Aveni – Water-Cult
Anthony Aveni isn’t a friend of the astronomical theory of Maria Reiche. He compares the Nazca-lines with the ceque-lines in Cuzco. Those lines will brought in connection with calendar, water and mountain deities. So he’s the idea there’s a connection between the Nazca-lines and the subterranean canalization system. In this way the Nazca-Indians celebrated a water-cult. Figures and lines was used for ceremonial dances.
Michael Coe – Ceremonial Places
Michael Coe believes the Lines are sacred paths to walk by specific rites. But primary the lines was a offering for elders, heaven- and mountain-deities who spent water for fields.
Siegfried Waxmann – Culture atlas
Siegfried Waxmann recognized a culture atlas of the human history in the Nazca-line-system.
Professor Frederico Kauffmann-Doig – magic lines
The famous Archaeologist has the theory, that the lines of Nazca are magic lines which origin from the cat cult in Chavin de Huantar.
Georg A. von Breunig – Sport stadion
Breunig has the idea that Nazca was used for sprinting to honor especial gods or ritual competitions. This theory was supported by the famous professor Hoimar von Ditfurth.
Markus Reindel / David Johnson – Water Cult and Dowsing
David Johnson believes that the Nazca-Figures are markers for subteran waterflow. Trapezoides show the broadness of the waterstream, zigzaglines show where they end, lines show into direction of the puquitos. Reindel sympatizes with Johnsons Theory, additionally he explain the nature of the figures by rod-dowsing (to find the subterran water) and shamanstic flights (to overview the figures).
Wolf-Galicki – Signals from Extraterrestrial Beings
The Canadian Galicki recognize in the Nazca-System doubtless signals of a extraterrestrial race. Only using this point of view the big planing and work performance is plausible.
Hermann E. Bossi – The Nazca-Code
Bossi’s theory bases on a formation called the GGF, Mandala or Zodiac that was discovered by Erich von Däniken 1995. This formation include a plenty of different combination possibilities and include information about the Star HD 42807 at different times and it’s planet. Other formations like the monkey seems to be of this code too. The same code is to find in other places like Stonehenge, Avebury and Borobudur, but also by Crop Circles.
The Code of Carl Munck: The Ancient Geomatria of Numbers
The ancient sites around the world are very precisely positioned on a global coordinate system in relation to the position of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The positions of the sites are given in the geometry of their construction. A very ancient system of numbers was used in the system, which we will call “Gematria.” Gematrian” numbers are found in ancient myths and religions, including the Bible. Gematrian numbers were used in systems of weights and measures by ancient peoples, including the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Babylonians and the Romans.
The Code system uses mathematical constants, such as pi and the radian. The system also uses conventions that are still in use, such as the 360 degree circle, 60 minute degree, 60 second minute, the base-ten numbering system, the 12-inch foot, and the 5280-foot mile.
The ancient Mayans used Gematrian numbers in their very accurate timekeeping.
The Nazca Line ground markings “locate themselves” on The Code Matrix System.
For more detailes visit Carl Munck’s website Nazca Lines and Archaeocryptography.
Professor Helmut Tributsch – Fata Morgana
Tributsch has the idea that important cult places like Stonehenge, the Pyramids and naturally Nazca were built on places where often the Fata Morgana – Phenomena occurs. In this way People could see the Fata Morgana of the Nazca-Lines.
Jiri Mruzek – The Seal of Atlantis
Jiri Murzek has another solution to Nazca Lines, and Figures. It is a very complete solution of the monkey’s figure. It involves geometrical code, which speaks of specific aspects of analytical geometry. This code coincides with the code of prehistorical La Marche, France.
John D. Miller – 177 Feet
John D. Miller analyzes different buildings worldwide. So he found in ancient buildings and old cathedrals often the value of 177 Feet. His theories are based on several holy numbers and units, so he believes that there is a deeper importance within.
Thomas Wick – A plan of a Cathedral
He’s a private researcher of ancient mysteries. When he saw the figure of the GGF, he recognized the ground principals of a cathedral.
Bray Warwick – The Age of the Nazca-Lines
In the heat stones perform a patina of manganese oxide, traces of iron and clay minerals. Below the stone advanced mushrooms, lichens and cyanobacterias. Such stones in neighborhood to the lines could be used to analyze the organic matter by C-14-Method. The idea is those stones was turned during the line-drawing. In this way values between 190 B.C. and 600 A.D. could be found. How many stones was analyzed? Only nine pieces!
Professor Henri Stierlin – loom
Stierlin thinks the Nazca-Indians used the line-system as loom. In the paracas-culture was made textiles witch was made of one string. But the Indians hadn’t wheels and looms, so they organized hundreds of men who held the string. Their position was defined by the lines.
Dr. Zoltan Zelko – Map
The Hungarian mathematician Dr. Zoltan Zelko analyzed the Nazca-line-system and compared with other ancient places in Peru. So he found out that Nazca could be a map of a 100 x 800 kilometer including region around the Titicaca-Lake.
Evan Hadingham – Hallucinogens
Evan Hadingham’s proposal to solve the Nazca-Mystery is the use of powerful plant hallucinogens like Psilocybine. In this way they made shaman flights and saw the formations at the area. The reason behind the lines are mountain-deities.
Prof. Helaine Siverman – Clan Signs
Helaine Siverman, the co-author of Anthony Aveni has additional the idea that the figures are clan signs of different Indian clans in the region of Nazca.
Prof. Dr. Aldon Mason – Signs for Gods
The main interest of Mason are the tombs and the deformation of skulls of the Nazca-Culture. About the lines his comment is: Signs for Gods in the Sky.
Albrecht Kottmann – Writing system
Albrecht Kottmann tried another approach to the Nazca-Mystery. He divided the figures into different parts and analyzed them in a geometrical way. So he divided a bird of 286 Meter length into 22 Parts. So he found that the head takes two parts, the neck five parts, the body three parts and the other twelve parts for the beak. The proportion between the beak and the rest is 6:5. Kottmann believes the geometric signs are a picture writing system with giant and small letters.
William H. Isbell – provision of work
He’s the theory that the kings of Nazca ordered the drawing of the nazca lines to control the population. When they did work they couldn’t make children at the same time. Why this? Isbell has the idea the Nazca-Indians wasn’t able to store field fruits, so in good years the population were increasing to strong.
Patrick J. Sutton – Connect the Dots Theory (electric diagrams theory)
I believe I am the first person to see the Nazca Lines for what they truly are. Almost every symbol on the Nazca Plain has connecting points or extra connecting point added, as if to connect something (electrical).
Look at these images with an electrical symbol catalog and you will see antennas, receptors, motors, grounds, switches and on and on.
For example the monkey has two extra connection points on its behind. The spider has a beginning and an ending point at the very same area. The dog has two extra connecting points on its behind. Look at the area in front of the monkey it looks incredibly like the sector switch symbol of an electrical diagram. The Alcatraz looks exactly like a resistor symbol. The hands are similar to that of an antenna. The symbols go on and on 3-phase motor, transformers, high level switches… Our ancestors gave us the direction. Notice the symbol next to the hands, the array spreads out to the west. Now look at the symbol of the astronaut as if to wave this is our hello.
Just like we did with our voyager space craft with the hope that it would one day be able to help some far off civilization understand us. The understanding has been right under our noses the whole time. The ancients used symbols that the people of the area and time could understand. With the hope that one day in the future someone would come along and figure it out. It is my theory that the ancients left us a calling card and this is it.
From the “Royal Commentaties of the Incas”, volume I, chapter XI
BEFORE leaving this region, we should mention a very remarkable story which the natives have received as a tradition handed down by their ancestors for many centuries. It refers to some giants who they say arrived in their country from over the sea and landed at the point now called Santa Elena, a name given to it because it was first seen by Spaniards on this saint’s day. As Pedro de Cieza de León is the Spanish historian who speaks of these giants at greatest length, having received his version in the very province which the giants visited, it seemed best I should follow his account word for word, for although Padre J. Acosta and the accountant general Agustín de Zárate say the same, their version is very brief. Pedro de Cieza’s fuller account in his ch. Iii is as follows:
“As there is in Peru a story of some giants who landed on the coast at the point of Santa Elena, in the vicinity of the city of Puerto Viejo, I have resolved to mention what I was told about them, as I understood it, without taking into account the opinions of the common people and their various anecdotes, for they usually magnify events larger than life. The natives, repeating a story received from their forefathers from very remote times, say that there came from across the sea on reed rafts that were as large as big ships some men that were so big that an ordinary man of good size scarcely reached up to knees: their members were in proportion to the size of their bodies, and it a monstrous thing to see their enormous heads and their hair hanging dawn about their shoulders. Their eyes were as large as small plates. They say they had no beards and that some of them were clad in the skins of animals, and others only in the dress nature gave them. There were no women with them. On reaching this point, they set up their camp like a village (and even in these times there is a memory of the site of their houses). As they found no supply of water they remedied the lack by making some very deep wells, a labor certainly worthy of record, being undertaken by such strong men as these must have been, to judge by their size. They dug these wells in the living rock until they came to the water, and afterwards they built the wells in stone from the water line upwards so that they would last for ages. In these wells the water is excellent and it is always so cold that it is very pleasant to drink.
“When these great men or giants had thus made their settlement and dug these wells or cisterns, they destroyed and ate all the supplies they could find in the neighborhood. It is said that one of them ate more than fifty of the natives of the land; and as the supply of food was not sufficient for them to maintain themselves, they caught much fish with nets and gear that they had. They lived in continuous hostility with the natives, because they slew the latter’s women in order to have them, and they also slew the men for other reasons. But the Indians were not numerous enough to kill these newcomers who occupied their land and lorded it over them; and although they held great discussions about this, they never dared attack them.
“After some years the giants were still in this region, and as they had no women of their own and the Indian women of the neighborhood were too small for them, or else because the vice was habitual to them and inspired by the demon, they practised the unspeakable and horrible sin of sodomy, committing it openly and in public without fear of God or personal shame. The natives say that our Lord God, unwilling to conceal so wicked a sin, sent them a punishment suited to the beastliness of the crime, and when all the giants were together engaged in this accursed practice there came a fearful fire from heaven to the accompaniment of a great noise, in the midst of which a shining angel appeared holding a sharp, bright sword with which he slew them all at a single stroke, and the fire consumed them leaving only a few bones and skulls, which God allowed to remain unconsumed as a token of the punishment. This is the account they give of the giants, and we believe that it happened, for it is said that very large bones have been found and still are found thereabouts and I have heard Spaniards say they have seen pieces of teeth which they thought must have weighed half a pound when whole, and who had also seen a piece of a shin-bone of wonderful size, all of which bears witness to the truth of the incident. In addition to this one can see the places where the sites of their villages were, and also the wells or cisterns they made. I cannot state whence or how these giants came there.
“In the present year of 1550 when in the city of Lima, I heard that when his excellency Don Antonio de Mendoza was viceroy and governor of New Spain, certain bones of men as big as these giants, and even bigger, were found there. I have heard too that in an ancient sepulcher in the city of Mexico or somewhere else in that kingdom certain bones of giants have been found. Since so many people saw them and attest having done so, it can therefore be credited that such giants did exist and indeed they may all have been of the same race.
“At this point of Santa Elena, which is as I have said on the coast of Peru and in the district of the city of Puerto Viejo, there is a remarkable phenomenon: the existence of certain wells or seams of pitch of such excellent quality that it would be possible to tar all the ships one wished with it, since it flows from the earth. This pitch must be from some seam passing through that place: it comes out very hot,etc.
“Thus far Pedro de Cieza, whose history we have followed to show the Indian tradition about the giants, and the well of pitch at the same place, for it too is remarkable.”