168 More Added to Mysterious Geoglyphs in Southern Peru

168 More Added to Mysterious Geoglyphs in Southern Peru

It has been announced that 168 new geoglyphs, mostly human and animal figures, have been discovered in southern Peru.

The announcement for the discovery was made by Yamagata University in Japan on December 9, 2022.1

Geoglyph: Motifs that are generally larger than 3-4 meters and created on the land in various ways.

According to the statement, a research team led by Masato Sakai, professor of cultural anthropology and Andean archeology, discovered 168 new geoglyphs near Nazca, in southern Peru. The research, carried out in collaboration with Peruvian archaeologist Jorge Olano, is based on field studies and aerial photographs from June 2019 to February 2020.

Yamagata University

According to a press release by Yamagata University, the geoglyphs are thought to have been created between 100 BC and 300 AD, which is roughly between 1700 and 2100 years ago. The most important reason why the geoglyphs did not disappear for so many years is the dry and windless weather conditions prevailing in the region.

By 2018, 190 geoglyphs had been discovered during field surveys in the region, courtesy of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. Thus, the total number of discovered geoglyphs reached 358.

Yamagata University

Most of the Geoglyphs are of the Positive Type

Studies divide geoglyphs into two groups according to the method of their creation: linear type and relief type. Linear type geoglyphs are created by excavating the surface. This type of geoglyph is also called negative geoglyph. In the relief type (positive geoglyph), the motif is formed by combining materials that will contrast with the color on the surface.

The previously discovered Nazca lines were of the linear (negative) type. However, only five of the recently discovered geoglyphs are of this type. The remaining 163 geoglyphs all consist of relief (positive) type motifs and are usually less than 10 meters in diameter. So many of them can be seen from the ground.

Uncertainties about the purpose of making the geoglyphs continue. There is no consensus among researchers yet. Some associate the geoglyphs with water, while others think they may have been drawn for astronomical or ritualistic purposes.

Lines May Be in Danger

Scientists are concerned that the Nazca lines could be damaged in the near future by erosion, pollution and tourism. Many archaeologists think that the changing climatic conditions due to global warming will also affect the Nazca lines. The depth of the Nazca lines is about 10-30 cm. Therefore, it is stated that the lines are unprotected against possible heavy rains.

  1. “168 New Geoglyphs Discovered on the Nasca Pampa and Surrounding Areas“, Yamagata University, December 9, 2022^