Mysterious Lands Nazca in the Peruvian Desert

About the mysterious land of Nazca in the Peruvian desert with its strange lines and carvings, history of the land.

An Atlas to Enigmatic Lands:

The Place: NAZCA

Location: The Peruvian desert, 15deg south latitude, between 73deg and 75deg west longitude.

The Enigma: From the air above the Nazca desert, one sees the ground come alive with huge outlines of geometric figures and spiders, birds, fish, llamas, condors, snakes, 6-petaled flowers, and haloed gods. Some of the figures are longer than 2 football fields; some of the lines are 40 mi. long. It is estimated that the pattern has been there for 700 to 1,500 years. Drawn on the ground, by exposing the light yellow soil which lies under the dark surface of the ground, the lines have remained because there is little rain and erosion there.

At the end of the plateau are statues, buildings, and carvings. One is an 80'-high double rock which seems to represent a human head, but contains drawings of at least 14 heads which show, symbolically, 4 races of man. An Inca, Tupac Yupanqui, says of the carvings: "The white men from the stars created them . . . created them in their likeness, in the likeness of the strangers living in the 4 quarters of the world. . . ."

Many of the carvings can be seen only at a certain time--an hour of the day, a time of year-when light hits them at a special angle. Daniel Ruzo, a Peruvian explorer, took a photograph of a bas-relief carved on a hill which showed an old man's face. The negative of the photograph depicted a young man. Some of the statues and carvings show animals not indigenous to South America-tortoises, African lions, and camels, for instance.

The enigmas? Who did the lines and the carvings? Who did the lines and the carvings? How did they do them?

Some Explanations: Dr. Maria Reiche, a German astronomer, spent 20 years charting the lines of Nazca from a high ladder. She has correlated her findings with positions of the sun, moon, and stars, and feels that the lines represent a huge "desert calendar," the South American version of Stonehenge.

Those who believe that alien beings from outer space have been visiting the earth for thousands of years think that the lines were either made, or ordered to be made, by extraterrestrials. An aerotrain flying just above the ground might, they feel, have inhaled the surface dirt to expose the patterns.

Professor J. Alden Mason, curator emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, believes that the lines were made following a smaller model.

Who made the lines? It was not the Incas, the Indians say, but another race before them. The triangles and trapezoids of the lines bear no relation to more recent Inca roads.

Today: Those who want to see the lines can get to the area by going 1st to Lima, then flying in a small plane to either Paracas or Nazca. The Pan-American Highway that goes from Lima to Valparaiso passes through the lines. However, to appreciate them, they should be seen from the air, perhaps from a chartered plane.

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