Archaeologists have recently unearthed new geoglyphs in the Nasca province located in Southern Peru, featuring depictions of feline and anthropomorphic figures.
The discovery was conducted by a research team from San Luis Gonzaga National University (Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga). Led by Professor Bendezú de la Cruz, the team comprises an archaeologist and 20 students.
The research team conducting surveys using drones in the districts of El Ingenio and Changuillo within the Nasca province utilized specialized software to analyze the images, revealing a total of 29 new geoglyphs. The researchers emphasized the potential significance of this discovery for Peruvian archaeology.
Twenty of the geoglyphs were discovered in El Ingenio, while nine were found in Changuillo. These geoglyphs, featuring depictions of feline and anthropomorphic figures, also reveal the diverse symbolism present within the region.
Professor Bendezú de la Cruz stated that the largest geoglyph among them measures approximately 42 meters (137 feet) in length and depicts a feline figure. Furthermore, he noted that the cat held a significant meaning for the ancient communities of that era, suggesting it might have been revered as a deity or held special symbolic importance during that time.
The geoglyphs, estimated to have been created between 300 BCE and 100 CE, are associated with the Late Paracas culture and the early Nasca culture.
Paracas and Nasca Cultures
Paracas and Nasca cultures represent two distinct yet interconnected civilizations that thrived in ancient Peru, situated along the foothills of the Andes Mountains. These cultures hold critical significance in understanding the rich and intricate history of the region. The Paracas culture existed between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, while the Nasca culture thrived from 100 BCE to 700 CE.
Paracas culture was situated in the southern region of present-day Peru, encompassing the Paracas Peninsula and the Ica Region. This culture is particularly renowned for its textile artistry. The richness of colors employed in fabrics, intricate designs, and geometric motifs showcased the mastery of textile art within the Paracas culture. Additionally, feline symbolism was a recurring theme in Paracas art.
Paracas culture gradually evolved into the Nasca culture over time. With the decline of the Paracas culture, the Nasca culture began to ascend. This transitional period brought about social, economic, and cultural changes in the region. While retaining traces of the Paracas culture, the Nasca culture also developed its own unique characteristics and features.
Nasca culture is renowned for its ceramic artistry and colossal geoglyphs. The formation and purpose of these lines have not been completely deciphered, but they are generally believed to be associated with religious or astronomical rituals.
The Nasca society is also renowned for its underground irrigation systems. These complex networks of channels, developed to redirect river water to agricultural fields, enabled the Nasca people to practice agriculture in desert conditions.
- TANTALEÁN, Henry. (2021, September 29). The Paracas Society of Prehispanic Peru. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Retrieved 27 Dec. 2023
- SAWYER, A. R. (1961). Paracas and Nazca iconography. In Essays in pre-Columbian art and archaeology (pp. 269-298). Harvard University Press
- NIEVES, Ana. “Pots, Petroglyphs, and Pathways: The Mythical Killer Whale in Nasca Art“