Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Perú. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. Scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created between 400 and 650 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards.

The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. The lines are superficial, only 10 to 30 cm deep. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, monkeys, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them.

Contrary to the popular belief that the lines and figures can only be seen with the aid of flight, they are visible from atop the surrounding foothills. They were first discovered by the Perúvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, who spotted them when hiking through the foothills in 1927.

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