In total, there are 168 of them. While about two hundred were known before, the collection, we can say, has almost doubled. And according to the firm belief of archaeologists, it is still only a few percent of the total number of mysterious signs that hide in these places.

And judging by the new findings, there is good reason to suspect that most of the geoglyphs just haven’t been seen yet. These 168 drawings were discovered only by looking closely at high-quality images taken from the air. First, they are comparatively small – maximum ten meters. And second, they are not made exactly like all the other Nazca drawings. The ones found before are essentially trenches: the ancient artists removed the dark topsoil and exposed the lighter soil. And in this case, almost all of them (namely 163 drawings) were made a little differently: they were not “dug up”. As the Japanese researchers who found them write, the authors of the mysterious images simply removed the stones lying on the ground in the right places. Scientists believe that they have discovered the second, new to science type of geoglyphs – relief.

What is drawn in such peculiar way? Animals and people. Among animals were named camels, birds, snakes, cats and killer whales. But the most curious was one of the pictures of a man. He is holding something like a weapon, and he does not have a head. It is drawn separately a little further.

Scientists don’t think it’s a scene of some kind of battle. In fact, in their opinion, it shows a ritual beheading. This practice is known in the history of the ancient world, archaeologists have even found the remains of victims. But the purpose of this act is not quite clear yet. There is an assumption that it had a magical, religious meaning. It is worth noting that the ancient inhabitants of Peru had a tradition to decapitate the enemy, mummify his head and carry it on his belt, it was believed that in this way the owner passed on the strength and valor of the defeated enemy.

The Mystery of the Nazca Lines

All the other giant images on the Nazca Plateau remain a mystery as well. Among the most famous, for example, are the spider and a man resembling an astronaut in a spacesuit. Why did they paint all this? The main theory is that it was a way to appeal to a higher power. That is, the ancients believed that the almighty gods were looking down on them and wanted to let them know their needs and hardships. And the abundance of figures of sea animals and waterfowl suggests that they prayed most of all for rain. But there is, for example, a hypothesis that this gallery, or at least some part of it, is an astronomical calendar.

One of the most famous geoglyphs on the Nazca Plateau. Photo © / Johny Islas/Peru’s Ministry of Culture-Nasca-Palpa
One of the most famous geoglyphs on the Nazca Plateau. Photo © / Johny Islas/Peru’s Ministry of Culture-Nasca-Palpa

There is also an ongoing debate as to who drew it. It is mostly attributed to the Nasca people, who lived on the plateau of the same name in South America from about the second century B.C. to the sixth century A.D. But from time to time there are problems with determining the age of drawings. However, the dating of the new geoglyphs allows you to consider them as creations of this pre-Columbian civilization: scientists believe the images appeared between the I century BC and the III century AD.

Historians say that the Naska people made the best quality ceramics and textiles in all of ancient Peru. They also built pyramids, amazing underground aqueducts and invented to make bricks of unusual shape – conical. They calculated that the buildings built with them were better able to withstand earthquakes.

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