Friday, October 7, 2011

Peru’s Nazca Lines

Spanning the entirety of the Peruvian Desert, these massive drawings are some of the only remnants of a culture that thrived during the more boring of the Common Era’s millennia. These geoglyphs depict many different shapes, most of which are just seemingly random geometric figures and lines. Some of the more interesting pieces include hummingbirds, monkeys, and one that even looks strangely like a modern day astronaut.

They were made by simply rearranging the topsoil of the vast, dry desert; the entirety of the plateau is covered with small red pebbles. Just underneath them, however, is white sand which shows a stark contrast and makes the figures visible from space.

While the construction process was relatively simple, namely digging, their meaning and precision of execution are still the focus of much debate. Many of the lines of the geometric shapes are absolutely perfect, a seemingly impossible feat to accomplish without the use of modern technology. Joe Nickell, an American English professor with a penchant for ruining people’s fun, devised a way to recreate them using tools only available to the Nazca people.

But others are skeptical of this anti-skeptic. Many believe that even though making relatively straight lines is easy using ropes, stakes and a basic understanding of geometry, others assert that there’s no way to make figures of such size and beauty without seeing them from an aerial view.

While the cliche call of “UFOs did it!”of course rings out, some scholars have pointed out alternative methods of flight. Jim Woodman was able to construct a hot air balloon-like craft using native objects. But seeing as there’s no evidence of any sort of balloon-type object ever found in that area, this is a pretty stupid claim.

The lines have held up amazingly well due the complete lack of precipitation in the desert; it’s one of the driest in the world. But scientists are worried that their future may be shortlived as climate change is setting in and brining more rain to the region.

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