The Enigma of the Nazca Lines & the Palpa & Paracas Geoglyphs

Imagine with me that it’s circa 1930. You are a pilot flying your air plane over one of the most dry & desolate locations on earth – the Nazca desert of southern Peru. Time seems to stand still as you soar high above the vast barren landscape that stretches mile after mile. Suddenly, something out of the corner of your eye catches your attention. You squint & strain for a closer look. Are you eyes playing tricks on you? Hundreds & hundreds of thick trapezoidal triangular lines – some that look like giant runways and huge geometric figures depicting animals & birds! What are these you wonder? You just happen to be one of the first humans of the modern era to have discovered what has come to be known today as the Nazca Lines…

Estimated to have been created as early as 500 B.C and as recent as 500 A.D, the Nazca Lines cover hundreds of square miles & are some of the most mysterious geoglyphs known to man. I think I came to the same conclusion that so many others have when I first flew over the Nazca lines years ago – it seems as if these anomalous works of art were tailor made to be viewed from thousands of feet up in the air…

These geoglyphs feature over 800 straight lines, 150 geometric figures and about 70 plant or zoomorphic shapes, however, over a thousand more geoglyphs can be found about 30 miles north near Palpa, Peru & even more can be found all the way to the coast near Paracas. The Palpa & Paracas geoglyps seem to be more 3 demential and feature more humanoid & insectoid looking figures…

Some of the largest geoglyphs are nearly 3 football fields in length & some of the longest of the straight lines extends for many many miles. The 6 mile long triangle geoglyph appears almost laser accurate in shape & the ground underneath it has been been stamped down about 2 ft throughout its entirety

Scientists from the University of Dresden measured the magnetic field and found that it changes 8 feet below the surface of many of the lines and also discovered that the ability to conduct electrical currency was 8000 times higher on the lines.


Upon close observation, it is evident that the designs were created by making shallow lines in the ground. By removing the small red iron oxide pebbles upon the surface, the white lime enriched ground beneath became exposed & hardened, thus making it resistant to erosion. Because of its isolation and dry-stable climate that receives less than one inch of rain per year, the lines have been naturally preserved for around 2000 years. German mathematician and archaeologist Maria Reiche studied the lines for over 50 years & believed that the Nazca artists prepared preliminary drawings on small six-foot square plots. Apparently some of these plots are still visible near some of the larger figures.


Many researchers believe that some of the lines were created to track the course of underground water flowing down from the Andes mountains. Anthony F Aveni, author of “The Lines of Nazca,” affirms this & suggests that the eight hundred miles worth of straight lines map the direction of water sources and a highly advanced irrigation system which the Nazca had produced. 

Other researchers believe that some of the lines were created for solar and lunar alignment purposes. Senior astronomer at the Adler Planetarium Phyllis Pitlugaand performed computer-aided studies of star alignments and asserted the giant spider figure is an anamorphic diagram of the constellation Orion. Some of the geoglyphs appear to even feature intricate mathematical diagrams

Getty Images

Still other researchers believe that many of the lines were created for a ceremonial or spiritual purpose, & wonder if the Nazca Lines weren’t made so as to communicate with what the ancient artists believed were the gods. To substantiate this theory, some researchers point to one of the strangest of all these geoglyphs known as el astronauto or the astronaut – which almost appears to be some sort of humanoid looking figure. It is also worth noting that ancient petroglyphs depicting 3 fingered humanoids have been discovered in the Nazca desert as well.


While most scholars attribute the Nazca culture alone to making the lines somewhere between 500 B.C and 500 A.D., Author and Researcher Brien Foerster, who has written the book “Nazca: Decoding the Riddle of the Lines,” and who lives near Nazca, believes that not all of the lines and figures were made at the same time by the Nazca culture. He states that the Nazca were the last of the line and geoglyph builders, but not the first – that they were created by two cultures – one, the Nazca people, but prior to the Nazca, the Paracas people who lived in the region approx 800 BC – 100 AD & who possessed strange elongated skulls. Brien has stated that the lines were made over the course of approximately 1000 years, starting at the Pacific coast of Paracas where we find the Candle Abra geoglyph & then going down through Palpa and then finally here to the Nazca plateau.

I find it fascinating that Brien makes a connection between the Nazca lines and the elongated skull culture of Paracas. Some of these elongated Paracas skulls cranial volume is approx 25 percent larger and 60 percent heavier than conventional human skulls along with larger eye sockets.

I find it a likely theory that the Nazca lines, including the geoglyphs of Palpa & Paracas, were created by at least 2 cultures spanning several hundred years. I also see credibility with the hypothesis that there could be more than one reason for why these geoglyphs & lines were made – some to track the course of water, some for astronomical alignment purposes, & yes, some to commemorate or even communicate with what the builders thought were gods…

Enjoy the video version below


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