Nazca Lines May Be a Labyrinth
2012 12 12

By Nick Collins | Telegraph.co.uk




Hundreds of vast patterns traced across 80km of plateau in Peru’s Nazca desert have perplexed archaeologists since the markings were rediscovered almost a century ago.

The designs, which were drawn between 100 BC and 700AD by scraping away red dust and rock to reveal white ground beneath, clearly resemble geometric shapes or animals including monkeys, humans, birds and fish.

But their enormous size, with some measuring more than 200m (660ft) across, means they are only visible from the air, raising questions about how and why they were created.

Some experts have suggested the patterns were painstakingly traced out as a message to the gods, while other commentators have even suggested the lines were drawn by aliens.

Now British researchers have claimed that a "labyrinth" of geometric shapes and lines was not created to be seen at all, and was instead a walking path which played a role in ancient rituals.



Photo of the labyrinth, with spiral passageway visible at bottom left:

Prof Clive Ruggles of Leicester University said: "Unlike some of the famous zoomorphic (animal) figures, its irregular form provides no reason to speculate that it might have been intended to be viewed from the air.

"It was not meant to be ’seen’ from outside at all, but rather to be experienced from within. It was meant to be walked."

Prof Ruggles and Dr Nicholas Saunders of Bristol University traced 4.4km of paths during a five-year project, becoming the first known people to do so in more than 1,000 years.

Writing in the Antiquity journal, they suggested the network of patterns was laid out around 500AD.

The well-preserved state of the labyrinth suggests it was only ever walked by small groups of people in single file and indicates a possible spiritual purpose, they said.

Although parts of the lines have been washed away by flash floods, the remainder is well preserved and the edges are still sharply defined.

Prof Ruggles claims to have been the first person to discover the labyrinth among the patterns while studying the lines in 1984.

He said: "I didn’t have the slightest idea of its true nature. Only gradually did I realise that here was a figure set out on a huge scale and still traceable, that it was clearly intended for walking, and that I was almost certainly the first person to have recognised it for what it was, and walked it from end to end, for some 1500 years.

"Sharing some of those experiences by walking the lines ourselves is an important source of information that complements the ’hard’ scientific and archaeological evidence and can really aid our attempts to make anthropological sense of it."

The World Monuments Fund last year warned that the lines could be jeopardised by tourism, with poorly regulated private flights, rising levels of litter and intrusive viewing platforms damaging the experience of visitors.

The lines were drawn by the Nazca people, a civilisation living in modern Peru which disappeared almost 1,500 years ago, and were designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994.

A report by British academics in 2009 found that the society may have brought catastrophe upon itself by clearing vast numbers of local huarango trees for timber and fuel.

The trees have exceptionally deep roots and would have played a key role in keeping the soil fertile and moist, scientists said.

Mass deforestation may have irreparably damaged the ecosystem, with the lack of trees making the climate too dry for local people to grow food, it was claimed.


Article from: telegraph.co.uk











Related Articles
Nazca Lines In Peru May Have Formed A Labyrinth For Spiritual Journeys
Visible Only From Above, Mystifying ’Nazca Line’ Wheels Discovered in Mideast (2011)
Pigs and squatters threaten Peru’s Nazca lines
Thousands of strange ’Nazca Lines’ discovered in the Middle East
UFO mysteries: ‘Nazca Lines’ discovered in Kazakhstan
Mysterious elk-shaped geoglyph discovered in Russia
Scientists claim new geoglyph find in Nazca, Peru
The Labyrinthine Search


Latest News from our Front Page

NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us. At least that’s what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account. Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy. The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head ’by mistake’
2014 07 24
More terror from the ’anti-terror’ brigade. Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday. The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria. A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
More News »