Igor Alekseev, december 2010
"Several centuries before the times of the Incas, the inhabitants of the southern Peruvian coastal region created a monument which, being unique in its kind, was intended to transmit an important message to posterity. Its enormous extension and the accurate lines of its contours could remind us of the Pyramids of Egypt. But instead of looking up to a work of monumental three-dimensional simplicity, we look down from great heights on flat surfaces, which over miles are covered with geometric patterns which spread, as if drawn by giants with rulers of hundreds of feet…"
– M. Reiche "Mystery on Desert"
The plateau of Nasca nowadays is a harsh desert covered with the sun-darkened rocks and intersected with the stream channels of the rivers that have dried up long ago. This is one of the most arid places on Earth. It is located 450 km to the South of Lima, the capital of Peru, and 40 km away from the coast of the Pacific Ocean, at the altitude of approximately 450 meters. Average precipitation frequency – once every two years, duration – approximately half an hour.
In the 20-s of the XX century when the flights from Lima to Arequipa were introduced people began to discover the strange lines at the plateau. There were plenty of lines – straight as arrows, stretching far away up until the horizon, wide and narrow, overlapping and intersecting, creating the unthinkable patterns, dispersing from their centres. All together they made a desert look like a gigantic drawing board:
Starting from the middle of the last century there commenced the detailed studies of the lines and the cultures that inhabited that region. Nevertheless, the geoglyphs managed to preserve their mystery. A lot of non-academic hypotheses were emerging to explain the phenomenon; the subject won a significant place in the list of incomprehensible mysteries of the ancient civilisations and nowadays basically everyone knows about the geoglyphs of Nasca.
The official science representatives have already claimed a number of times that everything has been deciphered and unravelled. They insisted that those lines were merely the traces of religious ceremonies or, at least, the results of search for water or astronomic guiding signs. However, when scrutinizing the photos taken from jet or from space, the reasonable doubts and questions do arise. What kind of rituals could make the Indians whose community at that time found itself at the earliest stages of development, who had no script, who lived in small villages and farms facing the daily need to survive – what could push them towards lining the hundreds of kilometres with the gigantic geometrical figures which can only be seeing from a high altitude? Maria Reiche, who has devoted more than 50 years to the study of geoglyphs, noted in her book that considering the tremendous scope of the performed works, the elaboration of lines must have been the key task of the community that inhabited the region at that time…
It is worth adding, that more specialized archaeological studies do not share this unconditional conclusion as to the mystery of the lines and they see the religious rituals as only the most plausible version available, which however requires further research.
What I suggest is to touch upon this amazing mystery with more attention and from another angle so to say; I suggest to do something similar to what Paul Kosok did in 1939 when he hired a plane and performed a special flight over the desert.
So, here is the background.
1927 – Official discovery of the Peruvian lines by archaeologist Toribio Meya Csespe.
1939 – the start of the geoglyphs’ research by historian Paul Kosok from the University of Long Island, New-York.
1946-1998 – the study of geoglyphs by the German mathematician and archaeologist Maria Reiche. Having first visited the place with Paul Kosok as his interpreter, Maria Reiche continued the research of the lines further and it has become the core business of her life. To great extent it is due to the efforts of this brave woman that the lines continue to exist and remain accessible for the research.
1960 – the start of the intensive research of the lines by various expeditions and researchers.
1968 – the book by Erich Von Daniken “Chariots of the Gods” was published. It is in this book that the hypothesis of the lines been the traces of extra-terrestrial civilisations was expressed. The start of wide popularity of the geoglyphs of Nasca and the touristic boom at the plateau.
1973 – expedition of the British astronomer Gerald Hawkins (the author of the monographic research on Stonehenge). The results of his expedition demonstrated the inconsistency of the astronomic hypothesis suggested by P.Kosok and M.Reiche.
1994 – due to the efforts of Maria Reiche, the Nasca geoglyphs were included into UNESCO World Heritage List.
Starting with 1997 the “Nasca-Palma” project under the guidance of the Peruvian archaeologist Johnny Isla and Professor Markus Reindel from the German Archaeological Institute, supported by the Swiss-Lichtenstein fund for foreign archaeological research, holds the leading position in the official research. As a result of this project, starting with 1997 the main hypothesis consists of the already mentioned ritual activities related to the cult of water and fertility.
At present, a GIS or a geographic information system (a digital 3-dimension representation of the geoglyphs combined with the archaeological and geological information) is being created with the support of the Zurich Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry.
Few words regarding the hypotheses. The two most popular hypotheses were already mentioned – the ones related to the rituals of the Indians and the traces of extra-terrestrial civilizations:
The rest (and their quantity is over a hundred) comprise the whole spectrum of thinkable and unthinkable activities which could have resulted in such tracks at the land surface. Emergence of new hypotheses would probably continue with the course of the development of science and technologies. The quantity and diversity of lines is so large that each of the hypotheses could be well substantiated. Especially now that everything is changing so rapidly and the numerous photos appear in the net, Google Earth provides the newly developed satellite maps with high definition, new archaeological data are supplied. Therefore, I suggest that we take the most widely-used explanation (in our case, it is the ritual conduct), make it a reference point and start looking at the facts (pure facts and concrete material) from there. In no way do I dare to present an exhaustive review of the many research works done – I would simply like to share some of the observations which are based at the materials that were accumulated by now.
For a start I’d like to define the term “geoglyph”. According to Wikipedia “a geoglyph is a large geometric design or motif (generally longer than 4 meters) produced on the ground and typically formed by clastic rocks or similarly durable elements of the landscape, such as stones, stone fragments, live trees, gravel, or earth. There occur 2 methods of their production – by means of removal of the upper patinated layer of soil at the perimeter of an ornament so that to expose the unpatinated ground or, vice versa, by means of placing gravel or other materials at the lines of a future motif. Many of the geoglyphs are so large that it is only possibly to get their full view from the air”. It is worth saying that the majority of geoglyphs represent the motifs which are interpreted rather directly and unambiguously. Also, humans were creating geoglyphs starting from the earliest times and up until now, and that was done for various purposes – religion, ideology, technical purposes, entertaining and advertising. Nowadays, due to the technical progress the means of production of the geoglyphs have improved significantly. Ultimately, one can say that an illuminated landing strip in the airport or an artificial island in the Arab Emirates are the modern-day geoglyphs:
Coming from the mentioned above, it appears that it is not exactly correct to refer the term geoglyph to the lines of Nasca (the number of these gigantic images constitutes less than 1 percent of the total quantity of lines and geometric figures existing) since the purpose of their creation is not known. In a similar way no one would perceive the tracks of the agricultural activity or a transportation scheme to be a geoglyph though they look like a geometric ornament from above. However, it just happened so that the official archaeology and literature use the term geoglyphs in relation to the Nasca lines and images. Therefore, we will also stick to this tradition.
The geoglyphs can be found at basically everywhere at the western coast of the South America. In this chapter we will have a detailed review of the geoglyphs located in the region of Nasca, while information related to the geoglyphs located in other regions can be found in the Addendum.
At the following map marked in blue are the districts where the lines can be seen through Google Earth and where the lines have a similar shape; red rectangle represents a tourist gem where the density of lines reaches the maximum and where the majority of images is located; the purple district is the area of lines which the majority of research works refer to as the area of “Nasca-Palma geoglyphs”. The purple symbol at the top left corner is a famous “Paracas candelabrum” geoglyph:
The red rectangle district:
The purple district:
A geoglyph in fact represents a simple object – the rocks that through years obtained a darkish suntan (the oxides of manganese and ferrum) are dislocated and, hence, the lighter layer of soil consisting of the mix of sand, clay and gypsum is exposed:
However, the geoglyphs may often be a result of a more complex implementation process – they may have an embedding, a better organized trim or border, they may contain the stone constructions or just the piles of rocks at the ends of the lines due to which they may sometimes be called the “ground structures”.
In places, where the geoglyphs extended to the area of mountains exposed is the lighter layer of gravel:
In this chapter we will review a large group of geoglyphs which includes only lines and geometric figures.
According to their form, the geoglyphs are usually divided into:
The lines and strips – 15 centimetres wide, with the length of up to 10 meters and above, which stretch for many kilometers (the length of 1-3 km occurs very often; some sources mention the lines of 18 km and more). The majority of figures are produced with thin lines. The strips may also gradually get wider along the whole length:
The next group is the truncated and prolonged triangles of the most diverse size (from 3 metres and up to 1 km). After the lines this is the most widespread type of geometric figures at the plateau. These figures are usually called trapezoids:
Next group consists of the large sites of rectangular and irregular shape:
The lines and the land plots may often be deepened into the soil. According to M.Reiche the depth may reach 30 sm and more. The furrows often have an arciform profile:
This can be well observed at the trapezoids that were almost entirely filled in with sand:
Or at the photo made by a member of ARL (Archaeographic Research Laboratory) expedition:
The photo location:
It is almost always that the lines have the clearly defined boundaries mainly represented by curbs which are aligned very precisely along the whole length of a line. However, the boundaries may also be represented by the stone dumps (see Fig. 15 for large trapezoids and rectangles) or by the piles of stones of a different level of orderliness:
The geoglyphs of Nasca gained their wide popularity due to their striking straightness. In 1973 Mr. J.Hawkins wrote that some of the straight many-kilometers lines were made at the brink of photogrammetric abilities. I have no information as to the status of these abilities today, but it is anyway evident that such level of precision was outstandingly great for the Indians. It is worth adding, that the lines often run across a stiff terrain as if it is not an issue at all.
Let’s move further. There exist sites (usually at elevations) where different type of lines meet (or disperse, if you like).
A view from the plane:
These sites can be well seen at Map 6. The map is compiled by Maria Reiche (such sites are represented by little dots):
The American researcher Anthony Aveni in his book “Between lines” mentioned 62 spots (or centers) in the region of Nasca-Palpa.
Very often the lines connect into various combinations. One can see, that the work wasdone in several stages and the lines and images lay on top of each other:
It's worth highlighting the placement of trapezoids. Its foundation usually faces the valley of a river, while the narrow part usually terminates into a territory which is located higher than that of the basement. However, this is not the case in places where the altitude difference is not very significant (at the flat tops of the hills or in deserts):
We shall also say a few words about the age and the number of lines. The official science commonly assumes that the lines were created in the period of between 400 years and 600 years BC. This assumption is justified by the analysis of ceramic debris of the various stages of the Nasca culture development, which were found in the stone dumps and piles of stones along the lines, and by the radiocarbon analysis of the remains of the wooden pillars which are believed to have served as the marking poles. The method of thermo-luminescent dating was also applied and demonstrated the similar results. We will revert to this later.
As for the number of lines, Maria Reiche calculated around 9 000 of them. At present, the various sources mention from 13 000 and up to 30 000 lines (and this is only at the purple part of the map 5; no one ever calculated the lines in Ici and Pisco regions, although it is clear that their quantity is significantly lower). However, we should also take into account that what we see now is what the time and the efforts of Maria Reiche have left us to see. In her book M.Reiche mentioned that she witnessed how areas with the most interesting lines and spirals were allocated for cotton cultivation (nowadays, the plateau of Nasca is a reserve). It is obvious that the larger part was destroyed by erosion, sands and human activity. In addition, the lines often lay over each other in several layers and, hence, the original number of lines may differ significantly. As to the question of quantity it is deemed reasonable to speak not of the quantity, but of the density of lines. Here, one should keep in mind the following.
Archaeologists state that during the period in question the climate was more humid (which is also proved by the photos from Google Earth which demonstrate that the remnants of irrigation systems go rather deep into the desert). Due to this the maximum density of geoglyphs is observed in the vicinity of river valleys and settlements (Map 7). However, separate lines can be found in mountains and deserts as well:
2000 m above the sea level, 50 km to the West of Nasca:
A trapeziod located in the desert 25 km away from Ici. It consists of a group of lines:
In addition, after implementation of the GIS for a number of districts in Palpa and Nasca, there was drawn a conclusion that, in general, all the lines were constructed in the areas accessible to humans; whatever could be taking place at the lines and along them could be seen from a distance and from rather remote observation points, while lines themselves were not visible. I’m not sure as to the second conclusion, but the former one seems reasonable for the majority of lines – among the places where the lines are constructed there can be found the places which are not very easily accessible, but there are no completely inaccessible ones. The fact of been located close to the settlements can be seen especially well through Google Earth since it allows rotating the image in all the directions (see the purple area at the Map 5):
We could continue with the list of the evident peculiarities, however, it’s time to proceed with the details.
The first what I’d like to highlight is the tremendous amount of work performed with low quality:
The majority of photos were made within the “purple” area (Map 5) which was visited the most intensively by the tourists and various experimenters. According to M.Reiche, at this territory even the military maneuvers took place. In my observations I tried to avoid as much as possible the traces that were made recently. That was not very difficult since the “fresh” tracks are lighter in color and they lie over of the ancient lines and have no sign of erosion.
Here are few more representative examples:
The ancient people had really strange rituals – was it really worth doing such an outstanding amount of work on marking and clearing of the land plot so that to further abandon it at the middle of the process or, what is worse, at the final stage? It is also interesting to see that sometimes the meticulously tuned-up trapezoids might contain a pile of stones roughly casted there by the constructors:
According to archaeologists, the works on construction and reconstruction of the lines were conducted permanently. I would add that this rather refers to a number of the groups of lines which are located in the proximity to Palpa and in the river-valley of Ingenio. Judging by the multiple stone constructions around the trapezoids’ basements various operations could have been taking place there even in the times of Incas:
Some of these places contain the anthropomorphic and rather primitive geoglyphic images which resemble to the commonly known cave drawings (historians refer them to the cultural style of Paracas, 400-100 BC, which precedes the culture of Nasca). It may be seen well that enough of loitering took place there (by the modern time tourists too):
It is worth adding, that it is exactly such locations that archaeologists prefer to research.
And here we approached to one important detail.
You must have noticed, that in the text I often mention the stone dumps or stone constructions which served as the borders and which were constructed irregularly along the lines. However, there is another similar component which can be found in a large number of trapezoids. Pay attention to the two elements at the narrow end of a trapezoid and to the one at the wider part of a trapezoid:
Since it is an important detail, therefore, here are few more examples:
At this snapshot from Google you can see that several trapezoids have similar elements:
These elements are not the mere later supplements to trapezoids, as they are present in a number of unfinished trapezoids and can be found in all of the mentioned regions at Map 5. Here are the examples from the opposite ends: the first one is from the Pisco district and the other two come from the mountainous district to the East of Nasca. An interesting observation is that these elements are also found inside the trapezoid at the last example:
Recently, the archaeologists got interested in these elements. Below is the description of one of such constructions in one of the trapezoids in the district of Palpa (1):
Below are the stone platforms – their walls are made of stones cemented with slush; the walls may sometimes be double (the outer wall is made of flat surfaces of stones that gives a it festive look) and have a filling where the ceramic debris and the remnants of food may occur; they have an elevated floor made of the puddled clay and stone chips. Assumptions are made that on top of these constructions the wooden poles were placed and they served as platforms.
At the scheme one can see the holes between the platforms where the remnants of wooden (willow) and possibly massive poles were found. The radiocarbon analysis of one of the poles proved its age to be 340-425 BC, while the age of a pole from another stone platform (at another trapezoid) was 420-540 BC. The holes containing the remains of poles were also found at the boundaries of trapezoids.
Here is the description of a circular structure that was found near one of the trapezoids and which, in the opinion of archaeologists, is similar to those found at the basements of trapezoids:
In terms of a construction method, it is similar to those platforms described earlier with the only difference that in the second case the internal part of the wall also had a festive look, it was D-shaped and had a cut made at the flat side of it. There was found a flat stone which was placed there after the reconstruction, however, it is also stated that there was another stone located there and both of them were used as supports for the stairs of the platform.
In the majority of cases these elements were of a simple construction method and represented, in fact, the piles of stones or circular stone structures; the singular element at the basement of a trapezoid could be not well visible.
I dwelled on this issue in detail since it is obvious that the platforms were built together with trapezoids. Many them can be seen through Google Earth and even the circular constructions may sometimes be visible. I doubt that the Indians were searching for trapezoids to build platforms on them. Sometimes, a trapezoid itself can hardly be noticed, while the elements on it are visible well enough (for example, in the desert 20 km of Ici):
The big rectangular land plots contain a somewhat different set of elements – two big piles of stones (one at the each end of a plot). It may be that one of them was demonstrated in the documentary of the National Geographic ”The lines of Nasca. Decoded”:
Well, a score to the hypothesis of rituals.
Let’s move further.
Coming from our orthodox version, it would be logical to suggest that there must have been a marking scheme for these constructions. Something like this is indeed available and can be often observed at the ground – a thin central line intersecting the center of a trapezoid, which often stretches far beyond its borders. In the studies of some archaeologists this line is sometimes called an axis of a trapezoid. This line is usually bound to land plots described earlier (it either begins or passes next to the land plots or crosses them at the basement, it always comes out exactly in the middle between the platforms in the narrow end), though a trapezoid itself may not be symmetric in relation to this axis (and, correspondingly, in relation to land plots):
This is true for all the districts highlighted at the Map 5. The trapezoid in Ici is rather representative in these regards (Fig. 28). Its axis is sprouting out from the piles of stones.
Examples of different marking on trapezoids and lines; examples of various related workswhich were conducted in the “purple” district (we called them matrices and paper tapes):
The marking at some of the demonstrated examples is represented not by a mere sketching of the main axes and outlines – here one can find the elements of a kind of scanning of the whole area of a future geoglyph.
This is particularly noticeable at the marking of larger rectangular sites at the tourist gem near the river Ingenio:
Below the land plot:
Here the marking for one site was made next to an already existing one:
Similar marking for future sites is well seen at the model of M.Reiche:
Let’s keep the “scan-type marking” in mind and move further.
It is interesting to note that those who performed the clearance works seemed to not have been able to coordinate their actions well enough:
An example of two larger trapezoids. I wonder, it was planned like this or someone mixed things up:
Considering all of the mentioned above, it’s hard not to learn more about the creators of that marking.
And this is where additional amusing details come up.
To start with, I’d like to say that it has a high demonstration effect to compare the modern traffic tracks with the actions of the ancient markers who used thin lines as their instrument. The car and motorcycle routes stretch chaotically along one direction and it’s hard to find a straight-lined track which would stretch for more than several hundreds of meters. At the same time, an ancient line is always as straight as possible and stretches for many kilometres (one can check this with a help of a Google ruler); an ancient line may sometimes disappear, as if taking off the ground, and then it arises again and runs in the same direction; it may sometimes make a light turn (which happens rarely) or change the direction – radically or not – and finally, it always terminates either into a center of an intersection or disappears gradually, dissolving in a trapezoid, in an intersecting line or with the change of topography.
The markers often seem to finalize a line at a pile of stones located closely to another line, and less often – at another line itself:
Or such example:
I have already mentioned the straightness of lines, but I would like to highlight the following:
Some lines and trapezoids, even if they are distorted due to topography, appear to be straight from a certain spot of observation from air (this was already noted in some studies). For example: a line that from a satellite photo seems to be loitering, looks almost straight from a different viewpoint located to the side (a screen shot from the documentary “Nasca Lines. Decoded):
Here’s another example. A snapshot from plane to the left, a snapshot from satellite to the right, in the centre there is a fragment of an old photo taken by Paul Kosok (fragment is taken from the bottom right corner of the original photo in the book of M.Reiche). We can see that all lines and trapezoids seem to have been projected from the check-point at which this photo is taken (the central snapshot).
Let's move further.
Next photo should better be viewed in high definition (here).
Let’s first pay attention to the central plot where the clearance was not finished. The handwork method is evident there – both the bigger and the smaller piles of stones, the gravel dumps and the borders. The borders are not even and the work in general was not organized well – in some places the debris are cleared away, but in other places they are left, etc. In brief, this is what we have already seen in the chapter related to rough handwork.
And now let’s have a look at the line which intersects the left part of the photo from top to the bottom – a completely different style of implementation. It seemed that the ancient construction experts wanted to simulate the effect of a cutting tool assembled at a certain height. Which leapt over a stream during its operation. Straight-lined and regular borders, leveled bottom, not forgetting the subtle details of the track rupture at the top of the line. It may be that it is a result of the water or wind erosion, however, this type of natural influence is available in plenty of the sites and consequently at the photos, while the current notion does not resemble to any of them. If it was due to erosion, then the erosion would also impact the surrounding lines and it would be visible. Here it is rather an intended rupture of a line for approximately 25 meters. The description will be complete when we mention the curved profile of the line (like at the old photos in Palpa district) and the tones of rocks that were to be shoveled (the width of the line is around 4 meters). Significant are also the four parallel thin lines that intersect the wider line perpendicularly and that were obviously imposed on top of it. When peering into this, one can see that with the irregularity of the relief the deepness of the lines changes too; it looks like a perfectly aligned trace left by a metal fork at the piece of playdough.
For my convenience, I named this type of lines the T-lines (the lines that were produced with the help of technology, i.e. taking into account the specific methods of marking, implementation and supervision). Similar features have already been highlighted in a number of researchers. The photos of the similar lines can be found at the webpage (24) while a similar behavior of lines (their ruptures and interactions with the relief) is revealed in the article (1).
A similar example where we can once more compare the two operation methods and the level of work performance (two “rough” lines are flagged by arrows):
What’s notable is that an unfinished rough line (the centrally located one) has a thin marking line. On the other hand, no thin marking lines are ever found at T-lines. Neither they have the unfinished lines.
Few more examples:
According to the “ritual” hypothesis, people must have walked along the lines. In one of the Discovery documentaries there was shown an internal structure of lines which was rather compacted. It is assumed that such structure is a result of intensive walking along the lines (soil compaction is also used to explain the magnetic anomaly that was registered at the lines):
To cause such compaction there must have walked many times there. Not just many, but extremely a lot. It’s interesting how the ancient people determined what routes to walk at, so that to compact the lines evenly? Fig. 67 Or how they bounced over 25 meters?
It’s a pity that high definition photos cover only the tourist gem of our map. For the rest of the districts we would have to enjoy the Google Earth maps.
handwork at the bottom of the photo and T-lines at the top:
These T-lines stretch for around 4 km:
The T-lines were also capable of turns and curves:
One more detail: if we get back to the first T-line that we discussed and if we look at its beginning, we'll see a small broadening that resembles to a trapezoid. This figure then develops into a T-line, that gradually changes its width and makes four steep turns, intersects itself and dissolves into a large rectangle (an unfinished plot of a later origin, evidently):
Break-downs in activities of the markers seem to have occurred from time to time (see the curved lines and the stones at their ends):
Large trapezoids also occur. They seem to be the markers’ product as well. Take this one for example – a professionally made trapezoid with a curb-type border growing out of the dent-line made by a marker, as if expanding its borders:
Another interesting example – a rather large trapezoid (at the photo only two thirds of its size are captured). It is made by something like a cutter (with gradual widening of its cutting teeth); in the narrow section one of the teeth seems to have lost contact with the surface:
There are plenty of such odds. The whole region, which we screened here, contains the creative products of these markers, combined with rough, unqualified handwork. Archaeologist Heilen Silverman once compared the plateau to a striated school blackboard at the end of a working day. Good comparison. I would have added that those were the writings of schoolchildren and post-graduate students at the same blackboard.
There were attempts to recreate the lines manually with the help of the tools supposingly available to the ancient people of Nasca:
Ancient people did something similar and they could have used the same techniques:
However, in my opinion, the T-lines resemble to something else. They remind of the shoveled tracks - this is how the Nazca pictures were simulated in one of the documentaries:
This is a comparison of the T-lines and the playdough slit:
Something like that, with the only difference that a shovel or whatever the tool was is somewhat bigger…
And the last comment related to markers. Recently there was discovered a religious centre of the ancient people of Nazca – Cahuachi. It is considered that this center has a direct relation to the construction of the lines. When comparing Cahuachi with a cross-lined desert site 1 km away (in equal scale terms), there arises a question: if the desert was cross-lined by Nazca geodesists, for the marking of Cahuachi they have obviously invited the migrant workers from the mountainous tribes that were developing slowlier, didn’t they?
It is impossible to make a clear distinction between the unskilled labour and the T-lines, or to make any certain conclusion based solely at the photos from the tourist gem or Google Earth maps. A field study is necessary. Since the chapter is based on materials that claim to be factual, I'd rather restrain from any further comments as to a hypothesis of the rituals, whatever sophisticated they were; hence, I round up the discussion about the T-lines and move on to the closing part of the chapter.
COMBINATIONS OF LINES
The fact that the lines form certain groups or combinations was remarked by many researchers. Professor M.Reindel, for example, called them the functional units. Let me provide some explanations as to that. A combination means that lines do not simply overlap with each other, but they form a seemingly holistic entity, joining their borders and creating an evident interaction with each other. To understand the logic behind these combinations, I'd like to first define the types of elements that constructors were using. We may see that there is not much diversity here:
In total, there are four types of combinations – trapezoids, rectangles, lines and spirals. There also exist drawings (or figures), but there is a whole chapter devoted solely to this type; in this chapter let’s make an agreement that figures belong to the group of spirals.
Let’s start from the end.
The spirals. This is a rather wide-spread element – there’s around a hundred of them and almost always they appear as a part of the combinations of lines. They are very different – impeccable and full of flaws, square and intricate, but always double:
The next type is lines. There exist mainly the T-lines – we already know them.
The rectangles are also already mentioned. Here we shall highlight two facts. First, there’s a rather limited number of them and they tend to always be perpendicular in relation to trapezoids and to be placed next to the narrow parts of trapezoids, sometimes as if crossing them out (Map 6). The second observation is that in the Nazca river valley there is a significant quantity of large broken rectangles, which overlap with the blind creeks of the former rivers. At the sketches they are usually marked with yellow:
The boundaries of these sites can be seen clearly at Fig. 69 (bottom).
And the last type is a trapezoid. Along with the lines, it is the most wide-spread element at the plateau. Some details are at this picture:
1 – Location in relation to stone constructions; type of borders. As it was already noted, the stone constructions may often be indistinct or totallly missing. A certain functionality of trapezoids may also be observed. I wouldn't want to draw the military parallels, but a comparison with the small-arms weapon comes to my mind. A trapezoid has a nozzle (a narrow part)) and breech-end parts; each of them interacts with the rest of the lines in a rather standard way.
I divided all line combinations into the two groups – folded and unfolded lines. A trapezoid is the main element in all combinations. A folded line (group 2 at the sketch) is the one which comes out of the narrow end of a trapezoid at a 90-degrees angle (or less). This combination is usually compact (the thin line often returns to a trapezoid’s basement; sometimes it possesses a spiral or an image).
An unfolded line (group 3) is an outcoming line that, basically, does not change its direction. The simplest unfolded line is represented by a trapezoid with a thin line that sprouts out of the narrow part and stretches far beyond.
Few more important details before we move to examples. Folded combinations have no stone constructions in trapezoids, while their basements (the wide part) sometimes possess multiple lines:
You may see that the last row in the previous example was laid out by the very caring and considerate restorers. This snapshot is made from the ground:
In folded combinations it's vice versa: there are many stone constructions, while basements possess an additional trapezoid/trapezoids of a much smaller size that adhere to the single platform (successively or in parallel and potentially bringing it outside of the main borders):
The first person to describe a folded combination was M.Reiche. She called it a "whip":
From the narrow part of a trapezoid there extends a line (at an acute angle, in the direction of the basement). It jigsaws the surrounding environment (in this case this is due to the specifics of the relief), curls into a spiral within the immediate vicinity of the basement. This is a good example of a folded combination. We may put in different types of elements here and at the end we shall receive a wide-spread combination that can be found in the area of Nazca-Palpa. An example with a different type of a zigzag:
Examples of larger and more complex folded combinations and a specific interaction with a rectangular land plot::
At the map with the multi-coloured asterisks there defined the folded combinations which are seen well in the region of Nasca-Palpa:
A very interesting example of the folded combinations is demonstrated in M.Reiche’s book:
A mini-combination is connected up to a huge folded combination at the narrow part of a trapezoid. This mini-combination has all the attributes of a usual candle. At a more detailed photo the following is marked: with white arrows – the bends of a zigzag, with black arrow – the mini-combination itself (the big spiral next to the basement of a trapezoid is not demonstrated in M.Reiche’s book):
Examples of folded lines combined with figures:
Here one can highlight the order of the combinations’ production. The issue is not completely clarified, but in many examples it is evident that the scanning lines as continue to keep in sight the initial trapezoid and take it into account in their trajectories. In the combination with a monkey, for example, the jigsaw zigzag is placed into the already existing lines; from an artist’s point of view, it would be much more complicated to draw it first. To my mind, the dynamics of the process looks more logical with such order of implementation when a trapezoid is created first with the all of the details, and then a T-line is drawn and it gets thinner along the way, transforms into a spiral or into a picture, and afterwards it finally disappears.
And here comes the champion of the folded combinations. The length of a visible uninterrupted part that has a high quality of construction equals to more than 6 km (the combination of lines near Cahuachi):
Here one can see the grandeur of the scale - Fig. 81(draughtsmanship by Tatukov A.).
Let’s proceed to the unfolded combinations.
There’s no any specific construction algorithm, but for the fact that these combinations cover large areas. One can say that this is rather a different mode of interaction between the line and groups of lines. Let’s have a look at the examples:
Trapezoid 1, that has an “igniting” trapezoid in its base, terminates with its narrow part into an upland at which the “blast” takes place or, in other words, where the lines sprouting from narrow ends of other trapezoids (2, 3) connect together.
This way the remote trapezoids connect with each other. However, a consecutive connection is also available (4). The connecting axis may sometimes change its width and direction. Highlighted with purple is the primitively performed object.
Another example is the interaction of a 9-km axis with 3 trapezoids:
1 – top trapezoid, 2 – mid trapezoid, 3 – bottom trapezoid. One can see how the axis responds to trapezoids by changing its direction:
Another example. For more clarity it is better look at it through Google Earth, but I will try to describe it too.
Trapezoid 2 sprouts into the narrow part of trapezoid 1 (which is done very coarsely); trapezoid 1 merges with the basement of trapezoid 3 (Fig. 103); trapezoid 3 in its turn sprouts into a small upland with a high-quality line – such a trapezoidness.
Such sprouting into remote low uplands (sometimes into the distant highlands) is a common thing. According to archaeologists, around 7% of lines target the uplands. For example, the trapezoids and their axes in the desert next to Ici:
And the final example – the connection of two large folded combinations with the help of a single border and rectangular plots:
One can see that a trapezoid which sprouts outside its direct straight line is intentionally ignored.
In brief, this is all what I’d like to tell about the combinations.
Of course, one could continue with the list of this type of connections, but at the same time, in my opinion, it would be incorrect to believe that the plateau is simply a big mega-combination, though a conscious and deliberate consolidation of a number of geoglyphs into groups according to their specific features and existence of something similar to a general strategic plan of the plateau is undoubtful. It is worth adding that all of the mentioned unfolded combinations cover the area of several square kilometres each, and it is impossible to construct such a thing in a day or two. Considering the existence of all of these T-lines, proper borders and platforms, the kilotons of stones and soil excavated, the fact that the work was implemented according to the same procedure throughout the whole territory of the district (Map 5 – more than 7 000 m2) and during a long period of time, and sometimes in the very unfavorable conditions, the questions arise. It is hard to judge if the Nasca community was capable of implementing this, but the fact is clear that this work required a very specific knowledge, availability of maps, tools, strong organizational skills and massive human resources.
It seems we have finished with the lines. To those who didn’t die of boredom, I promise, it will be much more fun with the figures as we may call them – birdies, beasties, various spicy details… Not just sand and stones…
So, let's begin.
The patterns of Nasca. This is the most insignificant, but on the same time the most famous part of the ancient heritage at the plateau. Let me explain briefly what type of figures we shall further talk about.
Archaeologists believe that humans appeared in this area (Nasca-Palpa) rather long ago – several thousand years before the rise of the Nasca and Paracas cultures. During all these years people were producing various images which survived until our times in the form of various petroglyphs, pictures at the ceramic objects, at the textile and the geoglyphs that can be seen well at the slopes of the mountains. It is not within my competence to go deeper into the chronological and iconographic peculiarities, especially since there are plenty of studies on this nowadays. What we shall do is simply have a look at what people were drawing, or rather how did they do it. As it turned out, everything was done rather naturally. See Fig.106 the top group is represented by the earliest and the most primitive petroglyphs (patterns at rocks); the bottom group – these are the textile and ceramics pictures of the Nasca – Paracas cultures. The middle row is represented by the geoglyphs. There are many samples of this art in the area. The object at the head of a creature looks like a sombrero, however, this is a forehead adornment (usually, a golden one Fig. 107) which, as far as I understand, is some kind of a sign of distinction or merit, which were often used in these districts and can be seen at many images. All similar geoglyphs are located at the slopes and are well seen from the low-lands; they are performed with one and the same method (clearing a plot from the stones and utilizing the stone dumps as the means of creating details) and fit well into the style of the top and bottom rows. In fact, there is enough of this type of art all over the world (1 column at Fig. 4).
However, we are interested in other types of figures which, as we shall see later, differ significantly from the above mentioned pieces of art in terms of style and the method of construction; it is actually this type of figures that is known as the Nasca figures.
Their number reaches slightly above 30. Among them there are no anthropomorphic pictures (i.e. the majority of the primitive geoglyphs, that were mentionned above, depict human beings). The size of images is from 15 to 400 (!) meters. They are drawn with one line (Maria Reiche mentioned the term “scratched”). Usually that line is a thin marking line which often does not close the circuit – i.e. an image has an inlet and an outlet so to say; sometimes these lines belong to a greater combination of lines and the majority of the images can only be well seen from great heights:
Most of these drawings are located in the tourist gem near the river Ingenio. The purpose and evaluation of these drawings cause disputes even within the official science and between its representatives. Maria Reiche, for example, admired the refinement and harmonious balance of these drawings, while the members of the modern “Nasca-Palpa” project under the guidance of Prof. Markus Reindel believed that the patterns altogether were not planned as images, but were rather conceived as the directions for the ritual processions. As usual – no clear understanding.
I suggest not to encumber ourselves with the introductory information and to go straight to the core.
In many sources, especially in the official ones, the question of the drawings’ belonging to the culture of Nasca is not a solved issue. To be fair, one should stress that the alternative sources (those, that have a different opinion) do not touch upon this topic at all. Official science historians refer to the comparative analysis of the drawings in the desert and the iconography of the Nasca culture, performed by William Isbell yet in 1978.
Unfortunately, I failed to find his study, hence, I had to emerge into the subject myself. Luckily, it is not 1978 outside and there are more plenty of sketches and photos of ceramics and textile of the Nasca and Paracas cultures. I mostly used the great collection of sketches made by Dr.C.Clados which are available at FAMSI web-site (25). And this is what came out of it. It’s better to have a look, rather than to listen to the descriptions.
The fish and the monkey:
A humming bird and a fregate:
Another humming bird, with a flower this time, and a parrot (this is how this drawing is usually referred to) which might not be a parrot at all:
And the rest of the birdies: a condor and harpies:
The fact is evident.
It is clear that the textile and ceramic pictures of the Nasca-Paracas culture and the figures in the desert coincide almost completely. By the way, plants were also depicted at the plateau:
This is a manioc or yucca which is one of the main food products at the territory of Peru beginning from the ancient times. It is commonly used not only in Peru, but throughout the whole territory of the tropical zone of the planet. It resembles to potatoes in Russia. In terms of taste too.
At the same time, one should note that at the plateau there exist images that have no parallels in the cultures of Nasca and Paracas (we’ll talk about that a bit later).
So, let’s have a look at how Indians were creating these wonderful drawings and figures. The first group does not evoke any questions – these are the primitive geoglyphs. Indians were completely capable of doing that, especially since they had an opportunity to have a look at their creation from aside and to correct it, if anything. The second group though (the figures in the desert) does raise some questions.
There is a famous American researcher, Joe Nickell, who is a member of the Committee for Sceptical Inquiry. Once, he decided to reproduce one of the Nasca figures (the 130 m. Condor) at the field in the state of Kentucky, USA. Joe and his five assistants equipped themselves with the accordingly tools – ropes, pegs and a wooden crosspiece that allows to make a proper perpendicular. It is highly possible that these “gadgets” were available for the inhabitants of the plateau too.
A team of “Indians” began their assignment on the early morning of August 7, 1982 and completed it in 9 hours, including a lunch break. During this period they have draughted 165 dots and connected them with each other. Instead of doing the shovelling, the experimenters filled the contours of a drawing with lime. The photos of that drawing were taken from jet at the height of 300 m.
“This was a success, – recalled Nickell. – The results appeared to be so precise and refined, that we could as well reproduce a much more symmetrical image with the same very method. It seems like the Nasca inhabitants were making much less marking dots or used a more crude technique during the measurement of distances. They could have used, for example, steps to measure the distance instead of a rope” (11).
Indeed, it turned out to be very similar to the desert one. But didn’t we agree to be more attentive to details? I suggest to compare the modern-time condor with its ancient analogue more precisely:
It looks like Mr.Nickell (his condor is to the left) has slightly exaggerated with evaluation of his own work. The modern replica is loose. I highlighted the roundings and axes which the ancient people have definitely considered more seriously in their work, which is not the case in the Nickell’s piece. Some proportions must have become loose because of that reason, and this adds to the clumsiness of a figure. Ancient drawing is different in this regards.
Another question arises. It looks like Nickell used a photo to reproduce the drawing of a condor. In process of scaling and transfer of the image to the soil surface, there usually emerge various mistakes, the size of which depends on a transfer technique. These mistakes would manifest themselves in a clumsiness of a drawing (what we have witnessed in the work of Nickell). In fact, some of these clumsy features are present in a number of the geoglyphs from the middle column Fig. 4 too. So, the question is – what sketches did the ancient people use to end up with such nearly perfect figures and what transfer techniques did they use?
Here one can see that a figure of a spider is intentionally deprived of a proper symmetry, but not in the way that it leads to the uncontrollable loss of proportions due to defects of the transfer (as it is the case with the Nickell’s piece), but in the way that it adds liveliness to the image and leads to the easiness of perception (and that makes the process of transfer much more complicated). I’m getting an impression that the ancient did not have any troubles at all with the duplication of images to the ground. One should add, however, that Nickell, has kept his promise to reproduce a more precise image by drawing this very spider (the photo from the National Geographic “Is it Real? Ancient Astronauts”):
But let’s put aside this question regarding the technique of scaling and transfer, and let’s have a look at the sketches without which the ancient artists could hardly perform the task.
It appeared that the sketches of higher quality prepared manually by Maria Reiche in the middle of the previous century, basically do not exist. Whatever is left is either a styled design of the original version that ignores the details, or an intentional distortion of the drawings so that to reproduce the primitive level of the Indians of that time. Therefore, I was urged to sit down and try to do the sketches myself. The task appeared to be so overwhelming that I was not able to stop until I sketched all of the images available. Jumping ahead I‘d like to say that I did not manage to avoid a number of agreeable surprises. But before inviting you to the gallery of the “Nasca” graphic art, I would like to highlight the following.
At first, I could not understand what made Maria Reiche so persistent in search of a mathematical description of drawings:
Here is what she wrote in her book: “The length and the direction of each section were thoroughly measured and set. Approximated versions would not be enough to reproduce such impeccable contours that we can now see thanks to the photos from plane: deviation for just few inches would have distorted the proportions of a drawing. The photos, that were taken this way, help us imagine the scale of efforts that the ancient had to pay for this. The ancient Peruvians must have possessed the knowledge that was thoroughly concealed from the conquerors as the only treasure that cannot be stolen, as well as the equipment that is not even available in our times” (2).
I’ve realized this in full when I started to make my own sketches. I was not thinking any longer about simply fulfilling a sketch, but about getting as close as possible to what was presented at the plateau. Any minimum shift in proportions would almost always lead to the clumsiness (similar to the one that Nickell demonstrated) and would immediately lead to the loss of lightness and balance of the image.
Few words about the process. There is enough of the photographic materials available on all the drawings, hence, whenever I lacked any detail it was always possible to find a necessary photo from a different angle. Sometimes the problems would arise in terms of the prospective, but this was usually solved either with the help of the already existing sketches, or with the help of a Google Earth photo. This is how the working process looked like when I was sketching a “snaky neck” (in this case, 5 photos were used):
So, one nice day I discovered that if possessing some skills with using the Bezier curves (they were developed in the 60-s for designing the car vehicles and became one of the main tools of computer graphics), this tool may sometimes sketch the contours of a drawing rather closely to the original one on its own. It was first witnessed at the circular ends of the spider’s legs – without my participation these ends were becoming almost identical to the original ones. Then, if the dots that were further connected into a curve were located correctly, the line would be almost identical with the contour of a sketch. The less dots there were, the more optimal their positioning and set-up was, and the more resemblance with the original was achieved.
In fact, the spider simply represents one whole Bezier curve (or the Bezier spline, which would be a more correct way to call it) that does not have any roundings or straight lines. While getting deeper into this task, I had an impression which then grew into a certainty that this unique Nasca pattern was exactly a combination of the Bezier curves and straight lines. No regular circles or arches were observed:
What if Maria Reiche, mathematician by education, tried to describe exactly the Bezier curves during her multiple radii metering?
The moment when I got truly numb at the skills and the mastery of the ancient markers was during my draughtsmanship of the large drawings, when I saw the almost perfect and impeccable curves in the drawings of the enormous size. I’d like to remind again that the purpose of doing the draughtsmanship was to attempt to have a look at what the ancient had as a plan before they started to draw the figures at the soil. I tried not to bring in my own artistic vision and allowed myself to draught the destroyed dots only when the logic of the ancient artists was evident (as in the case of the condor’s tail or with an obviously modern and aberrant rounding at the spider’s body). Of course, this may lead to some perfection of the drawings, but we should keep in mind, that the master drawings of these were the gigantic artworks of more than 1500 years old and which were subjected to renovation many times.
Let’s begin with the spider and with the dog (with no technical details yet):
The fishes and the frigate bird:
We’ll touch upon the details of the monkey figure. This drawing has the most irregular contour. At first, I draughted the drawing according to its outlook at the photos:
Afterwards, it became clear that despite the great precision in terms of proportions the artist’s hand seemed to have been shaking while drawing the contour. This can also be seen at the straight lines that are part of this drawing. It is not clear why it is one so – it may be due to a very irregular relief at the site; however, if to make the line slightly thicker then all of the irregularities will disappear in this width. Due to this the monkey gained the standard geometry inherent to all of the drawings. Attached are the spider monkeys which many researchers believe to be depicted at the drawings of the ancient people. Can’t help attracting your attention to the balance and accuracy of proportions at the drawing:
Going further, I believe there is no need to introduce the lizard, the tree and the “nine fingers”. I’d like to attract your attention to the claws of the lizard – the ancient artist had a hawk’s eye on the anatomic peculiarity of a lizard, namely, the somewhat dislocated wrist (as compared to the wrist of a human):
The iguana and the humming bird:
The snakebird, the pelican and the harpy:
The rhino-dog and another humming bird. Check out the sophistication of lines:
The condor and the parrot:
The parrot drawing contains an unusual line. The thing is that this drawing always created confusion due to its incompletion which is not usual for the Nasca drawings. Unfortunately, the pattern was severely damaged, but at some photos a curve can be seen well enough (Fig.131). It appears to be the continuation of the picture and it brings in the balance into the scene. It would be extremely interesting to see the whole drawing, but unfortunately it’s beyond our possibilities. I’d like to attract your attention to the virtuosic depiction of curves at these huge drawings (to compare the size, watch the people at the photo of the condor). One can separate right away the meager attempt of the modern-time experimenters in drawing an extra feather to the condor.
We have finally approached a culminating point in our exhibition. At the plateau one can see a very interesting drawing or rather a group of drawings, which stretches out for more than 10 hectares. It is seen pretty well through Google Earth, as well as at the multiple photos, however, it is barely mentioned anywhere. Let’s have a look:
The size of the big pelican is 280 to 400 meters. The photo from plane and the draft draughtsmanship are given at:
Here again we can see a perfectly drawn curve (if we use Google) of more than 300 meters long. A strange drawing, isn’t it? It has a tint of something alien, non-human to some extent…
We shall talk further about the oddity of this drawing and of other drawings, but for the moment let’s continue with our course.
Other drawings of a slightly different character:
Sometimes there occur the drawings which are rather complicated, which contain specific roundings and which require the performance of marking to preserve the proportions, but which at the same time seem to be deprived of any sense:
The “peacock” drawing is interesting in terms of its junction of the right wing with a neighboring line (though it might as well be the result of renovation). Just look at how skillfully the ancient creators have fit this drawing into the relief:
For the purpose of having a full view of the drawings, let’s says a few words about the drawings with no draughtsmanship done. Recently, the Japanese researchers have discovered few more drawings. One of them is present at the next photo:
The drawing is located at the southern part of the plateau, close to the river Nasca. It is not clear, what is depicted on it, but the calligraphy of the drawing can be seen well – the elegant proper curves with the width of approximately 1,5 meters (judging by the comparison with the car wheels’ tracks) laid upon the stiff terrain.
I already mentioned the compacted soil area next to Palpa, where the lines coexist hand by hand with the primitive geoglyphs. There one can see a small, but interesting drawing (marked by an oblique arrow). On it a creature with the immense number of fingers or tentacles is depicted. This drawing was mentioned in a number of research works, but it can barely be distinguished at the photos:
Few more drawings (maybe of less quality) that have the same style which is different from that of the primitive geoglyphs:
The next drawing is special due to the fact that it is done by means of a wide line (around 3 meters). One could recognize that it is the bird depicted at the drawing, but the details were destroyed by the trapezoid:
To conclude our review attached is the scheme with the drawings as to their scale:
Many researchers paid attention to the asymmetry of a number of drawings for which it seemed logical to have the symmetry (for example, the spider, the condor, etc). Assumptions were made that those deviations were caused by the relief. Therefore, attempts were done to make the necessary corrections to the drawings. Indeed, compared to all the thoroughness and scrupulosity of the ancient artists as to the details and proportions, it’s very illogical for them to draw the condor’s paws so evidently different-sized (Fig. 131). Pay attention to the fact that the paws are not just mere copies of each other – they represent two completely different drawings each containing a dozen of accurately made roundings. It’s ridiculous to suggest that these two works could be performed by two separate groups of workers who spoke different languages and used different sketches. Hence, it seems obvious that the ancient masters were intentionally avoiding the symmetry, especially considering the fact that the completely symmetrical drawings of theirs are also available at the plateau (we will yet speak about them).
While making the draughtsmanship, I paid attention to another interesting fact – the ancient markers were drawing the projections of the three-dimensional figures. Let’s have a look:
The condor is drawn at the two planes that cross-over each other at a slight tilt. The pelican seems to be drawn at the two decussate planes. The spider also has an interesting 3D design (1 – the original drawing, 2 – the drawing that is straightened considering the planes at which it was drawn). This can be noticed at other drawings as well, for example, the humming bird (the size of the wings evidently shows that the bird is flying above us), or the dog (which is obviously turned to us with its back), or the lizard and the “nine fingers” (with its different size of wrists) (Fig 144). Check out how wittily is the 3D volume implemented in the tree drawing:
It’s like a figure was made of a sheet of paper or foil paper, and afterwards one of the branches was straightened.
It would be strange if no one before me noticed this. Indeed, one of the works of the Brazilian researchers contained this observation (4) – there it was used to justify a certain three-dimensional corporality of drawings which was done through rather complex transformations:
I agree to the transformation with the spider, but I don’t quite agree to those with the rest of the drawings. Hence, I decided to make my own 3D model of any drawing. This is how the 3D model of the “nine fingers” looks like (the model is made of the modeling clay):
It was a bit complicated with the paws since the ancient artists depicted them in a somewhat exaggerated manner and, in addition, no creature tiptoes while walking. But in general, everything went successfully and there was no need to make any assumptions since all the input data were present at the drawing: a specific type of joint, the bulging of the corpus, the position of “ears”. What’s interesting is that the model from the very beginning turned out to have the balance – it could stand on its feet. Automatically a question arose – what kind of animal it is? Where did the ancient artists get their inspiration and topics from for the drawings at the plateau?
A number of amusement facts are awaiting us in this domain of the research.
Let’s address our favorite model – the spider. In the works of various researchers this spider was defined as a one belonging to the group of Ricinulei. A number of researchers deemed the enter-exit lines to be the genitals, while a spider of this group in fact has its the genital organ located at a foot. The mistake, however, comes from a different area. For a moment, let’s put the spider aside and have a look at the following drawing. I’d like to ask you, if I may, to reply to the following question – what are the monkey and the dog doing?
I don’t know what you saw at the picture, but all of my respondents replied that the animals were relieving themselves. It is especially evident since the ancient artists depicted the dog’s gender rather clearly while the genitals are usually depicted in a different way. It might be that the same refers to the spider, though the spider is not defecating anything but simply has an exit at his foot. If we have a closer look, it might also turn out that this is not a spider at the end, but something more like an ant:
And it is definitely not the Ricinulei spider. Someone at the “ant” forum was joking that it probably was a spiderant. Indeed, the spiders have their head and body united into one single unit, while in our case the ancient artists have clearly portrayed the head separately from the body (which is specific for ants), they portrayed the barbs and the body which has eight legs (ants have six legs and a pair of barbs). It is funny that Indians themselves had no idea of what is drawn there in the desert. Check out the prints at the ceramics:
They knew what spiders looked like and they clearly portrayed them at other surfaces (to the right), while on the ceramic surface to the left they still depicted a spiderant, though this time with sixteen legs. I do not know what this should mean, but if one locates him- or herself at the centre of a 40-meters drawing it would in general be possible to figure out what is depicted on the ground, while the roundings at the ends of the legs might as well not be noticed. However, it is possible to conclude at least one thing – there is no creature like that on our planet.
Let’s move further. Another three drawings also raise questions. Drawing 1 is the “nine fingers” that was demonstrated above. Drawing 2 – the rhino-dog – a small drawing of about 50 m (small in terms of Nasca standards), which is for some reason not favored by the researchers and is rarely mentioned by them:
Unfortunately, I have no ideas as to what this could be, hence, let’s move further to drawing 3.
The big pelican.
The only drawing which due to its size and perfect lines has the same outlook at the draughtsmanship as in the desert (and consequently at the ancient sketches). It is not exactly correct to call this figure a pelican. A long beak and something similar to a craw does not yet mean that this is a pelican. The ancient artists did not define the main thing that makes a bird a bird – the wings. In addition, this figure is of no function, no matter from which side we look at it: it is impossible to walk along it as it is not a closed circuit; there is no way to traverse to the eye unless making a tremendous jump; it’s inconvenient to scrutinize it from the top due to the specifics of its details; neither it correlates well with the lines. Nevertheless, there are no doubts that this drawing was produced intentionally like this as it looks balanced – the impeccable curve brings equilibrium to the trident (a transversal one obviously) and the beak is balanced by the dispersing lines behind it. I could not grasp why this drawing leaves an impression of something very unusual, while the answer is very simple. The tiny and slim details are spread at a large distance. To figure out what this is, one would have to cast glances from one little detail to another. If trying to step back so that to encompass the whole picture at once, all of the little details fade and the content of the drawing gets lost. As if this drawing was created for perception by a different type of being – a being who has a different size of the “yellow spot” (a spot of the highest eyesight acuity at the retina of an eye). Thus, if any of the drawings are to be related to the extraterrestrial type, then this pelican would be the first one in the line.
You might have noticed that it’s a twisting and eely topic that allows to fantasize forever and due to this I at first had doubts as to shall I raise or not. But the plateau of Nasca is an interesting place and one never knows where the rabbit shall jump out. The topic of strange drawings was raised due to the unexpected discovery of an unknown drawing (or at least I found nothing on it in the net).
However, the drawing is not completely unknown. At site 24 this drawing is considered to be gone due to the inflicted damage and only a fragment of it is outlined. However, in my database I found at least four photos at which the lost details of the drawing can be seen clearly. The drawing is indeed damaged severly but the location of the remaining elements, luckily, allows to assume with high probability what the original drawing looked like. The experience of draughtsmanship was very helpful here.
So, the opening time! Specially for the readers of “Some observations” – the new inhabitant of the Nasca plateau, ladies and gentlemen, please meet:
The drawing is not standard, around 60 meters in length, in a somewhat unusual style, but definitely belonging to the ancient times. It’s like it is scratched at the ground’s surface and is then covered with lines. All of the details are visible, except for the middle bottom fin, a part of a contour and the rest of the internal hatchwork. It can be noticed that the drawing was wiped out in the recent years – it might be that it was not on purpose, but because people were gathering gravel for example.
A question arising again – was it the imagination of the ancient artists or have they seen such fish with a similar position of fins during the vacation at the Pacific coast? It reminds a lot of a recently found relict crossopterygiian coelacanth (of course, if at a time the coelacanths were swimming in shoals hear the shores of the South America).
Let’s put aside the oddity in the drawings and consider one more interesting group of figures, which is though not as manifold. I would call them the regular geometric figures.
A net and a circle made of squares:
At Google Earth one can also see another ring made of squares, but of a larger size and which was just started:
Another drawing that I call “Estrella 2”:
All of the drawings are made in a similar method – the joints and the lines that were of importance for the ancient artists were defined by stones, while the lighter colored land plots where the stones were cleared away play the supporting role:
In the circle of “Estrella 2” all of the important centers are reveted with stones.
I found no comments as to this from archaeologists, except for some comments regarding the unreliability of these figures been ancient. Indeed, the space for doubts does exist: at “Estrella 1” there are very many traces which seem to be recent: (Fig. 161). Though these drawings are still more likely to be the ancient ones since “Estrella 2”, which was made in a similar way, is obviously a very old drawings (judging by the level of destruction). The fresh tracks at “Estrella 1” are most likely the consequences of the “caring” attitude of the renovators. Within the direct vicinity of “Estrella 1” we see a so-called “fan” – a specific figure of the ancient markers which resembles a fan with many blades (an example of another “fan” is near the Ingenio river):
– or next to “Estrella”:
This neighboring location may be accidental, but it seems like the piles of stones in the center of the fan and the stones in estrella were assembled approximately at the same period of time. In addition, the typical disregard of the relief is also present. At present, there exist a large number of interpretations explaining these figures (they mainly refer to “estrella 1”). To me they seem to have had a supporting role in the overall work of our ancient artists..
This is probably all that I would like to say about these drawings. Now let’s proceed to the oddities.
In the district of Nasca-Palpa there is a limited amount of figures. They are strikingly different in style, content and means of production from the primitive geoglyphs created by the indigenous people of the Nasca-Palpa area and of other regions of the western coast of the South America. Together with the straight lines and roundings, the ancient artists of Nasca were able to create the rather complicated curves and to construct the elegant and balanced figures often of a very large size, preserving the perspective that could be seen mainly only from a decent height (with a complete absence of the marking tracks). Difficulties with these figures arise already at the stage of the draughtsmanship production. I asked an artist to draw a hand-made copy of the spider (a kind of preparation for its further drawing at the ground). It is clear, that the picture to the left still requires improvements, but the complexity of the future work can be encompassed already at this stage — due to the number of axes and guiding lines, defined by an artist:
Up to that, the transfer to the ground (so that to preserve all the subtleties) should be done in the way the students from Dresden did it when they reproduced the Nasca humming bird for the anniversary of Maria Reiche:
It is completely not clear what tools did the ancient people use to make the markings on the ground (for example for the roundings at the big zigzag at Cahuachi (Fig. 81):
And why would they take pains with using the complex curves instead of simple hemispheres? No one would ever see the zest from the ground (especially considering the stiff terrain) and especially since there are no altitudes available in the vicinity from where all this beauty could really be appreciated.
Next: at the plateau there are the drawings which have no sense or content – something like an unfinished sketch or “ornamenting of a new pencil”. These are sometimes made in few stages, but nevertheless they still required a certain marking to be done to preserve the proportions and the roundings (also see Fig. 136):
(at the second photo the renovators have singled out a drawing which is known as a whale, but which is more likely to be just a group of lines similar to the two previous ones).
With the outlook given it seems like someone was just trawling a pen or something like this across a sheet of paper and then it was decided to copy that onto the desert’s surface in a larger scale and with all of its details.
Next: even though all the details are preserved, there is a significant difference between the laconic graphics of the drawings at the plateau and the primitive style of the textile or ceramic drawings of the Nasca and Paracas cultures. At present, the iconography of these two cultures has been studied inside out: as for the Nasca drawings, there distinguish 9 stages of the drawings, while the fragments of ceramics allow to define the year of their production with the accuracy of up to 50 years. But when it comes to the drawings in the desert, only silence exists and the brief comments on the difference in styles. All what is left for us is to assume that there must have a lived a talented Nasca artist who did not have his head cut away or drilled when he was young (or maybe exactly vice versa – we shall speak about the Paracas-Nasca entertainment in terms of the heads in chapter 3) and he decided to express himself and created around thirty elegant figures in the desert, incorporating along the way the Bezier curves and the 3D graphic apps.
But the most interesting thing is not this one. The core iconography topic of the “official” period of construction of the lines was the anthropomorphic figures. Here belonged the figures of common people and mythical creatures; though mainly there were gods with the cat-like features (forehead jewelry and masks which covered the bottom part of the face):
At the same time, there’s not a single drawing of an anthropomorphic character among the technically advanced drawings at the plateau. For some reason the ancient artists were not drawing people or gods at all. They were more into animals of “extraterrestrial” origin. On the other hand, there are also basically no animals or plants among the geoglyphs.
One more thing – despite the immense amount of labor required for the production of drawings, the drawings were sometimes ruthlessly crossed out or even destroyed by their creators themselves, as if the constructors did not really want anyone to see their art. And again, the primitive geoglyphs always had a sort of separate life from the lines – they were hardly ever affected by the lines and could always be seen well from the ground.
To conclude the story, I’d like to touch upon a couple of anthropomorphic figures. The first one is a modern piece. At the recent photos from Google there was found a funny and interesting figure. I call it “the portrait with spectacles”:
A 60-meters figure which judging by the hairstyle and design of the glasses was probably made in the 70-80s of the last century (the peak of the boom caused by the works of Daniken). Those who did it were well-informed on whatever was going on at the plateau. The drawing is made with a single line connected to an ancient (horizontal) line. The jokers even added the tint of fadedness and age to the image by erasing the lines here and there. In my opinion, the ancient drawings are much closer in style and in the quality of work to this one rather than to the art of Indians. I will open a secret – I won’t be too much surprised if it turns out that this drawing is also an ancient one. But this is me kidding now.
And the last drawing – an owl-man or an astronaut.
It may seem illogical for someone to close the chapter on the Nasca drawings with this primitive figure. So, what is so interesting about it?
Here’s what. First of all, the drawing is made at a slope of a hill which is located basically in the center of the desert (while almost all of the primitive geoglyphs are located not far from the settlements, at the slopes facing the valley). Secondly, the primitive geoglyphs (middle row at Fig.106) usually have a bulky silhouette, various adorns and the legs of the depicted creatures resemble to matches while both hands are occupied with objects or there are no hands at all. In this case, the creators have depicted a very stable figure by means of making its legs more heavy to the detriment of the general design, and put a stress on the eyesight of a creature by enlarging the eyes (two almost regular circles). On the contrary, at the primitive geoglyphs only the hump-backed old men with canes in their hands have such big eyes. The most important thing, I guess, is the lifted right hand (which is completely unusual for the primitive geogplyphs) – a gesture which is commonly interpreted by everyone as a sign of salutation, good-bye or attracting attention and which usually assumes the positive relationship. It is not completely clear whose attention it was supposed to attract in the middle of the desert, though probably they wouldn’t have drawn a non-standard 30-meters geoglyph far away from the settlement for no reason…
3. THE QUITE SONG OF A YELLOW DRAGON AT THE RISE OF AN OLD MOOD
Usually, in the final chapter one makes a posture full of meaning and declares the smart theories, hypotheses, etc. I believe, that in the case of Nasca geoglyphs this approach will not work. I’ll be straight with telling you that I do not have any clear version on what was going at the plateau. But as an author I will allow myself to fantasize a bit in this chapter and to touch upon the things which at the first glance have nothing in common with the geoglyphs. So, if anyone was interested solely in the lines, photos and reviews, you may definitely stop reading at this point and proceed to the addendum. And with the rest of you we may continue.
Let’s not encumber ourselves with drawing the conclusions and results. Dear reader, I hope that based on all the mentioned above you can make your own certain conclusions. IHere I would like to pay attention to few more things which seemed important for me.
Evidently, at the plateau there were simultaneously performed the activities of two types – the highly qualified labor and the primitive labor. At first, I was not sure about these two taking place simultaneously. All conclusions as to the age of the lines were made based at the remains of the wooden objects (the radiocarbon method) and ceramic objects found at the lines. But as the saying goes: “The writings on the fence not always denote the objects behind it” and the wooden and ceramic remnants could have appeared at the lines much later. Another method which was applied is the thermoluminescent dating, however, a number of researchers express doubts as for its reliability for this matter. Hence, what was left to us were the photos.
At the photos all of the visible lines are mainly covered by rather distinct ruins. But there was a place, where the lines were running on top of the ruins, covering the latter:
Here is a primitive geoglyph covered by something like a trapezoid:
One can see a great deal of rough but purposeful handwork (irregular stone dumps at the borders of the big trapezoids and rectangles – it is exactly there that the ceramic remnants are found – together with the T-lines and high-quality trapezoids). We have already talked about the similarities between the drawings in the desert and at the ceramics, and here is another example of one and the same bird performed as a primitive geoglyph and as ground drawings combined with lines:
All of the labor-intensive work related to marking activities and various interactions allows to speak of the simultaneous coexistence of the two types of labor – the primitive and rough one together with the technologically advanced one (geodesy, graphics, methods of drawings and T-line transfer, organization and supervision of works along the whole territory, maps, compiling of combinations).
Of course, it is the second type that is of interest – the legacy of our mysterious marking artists. It’s impossible that they haven’t left their traces elsewhere. To include this into research one would need to obtain at least some knowledge of the pre-Incan history of the South America. I am not an expert in this domain and I’d rather advice to those of you who are interested in the subject to go through a great number of research works, books and films available on this topic at present. As for me, I would like to proceed with the story of my own introduction to this mesmerizing topic.
Not to diffuse the attention talking about the whole immense subject, I’d rather focus on the cultures of Paracas and Nasca, which are assumed to have participated in the construction of lines most of all.
The culture of Paracas is mainly known due to its entombments. The culture is actually divided into stages according to the type of these entombments. There exist 2 periods – the period of Paracas-cavern and Paracas-necropolis. These are the group entombments which sometimes contain more than few dozens of mummies wrapped with a burial fabric of high quality and fixed into the seated positions.
A very unique and labor-intensive fabric is one of the features of this culture. The quality of this fabric sometimes exceeds that of the modern textile. Fabric from the tombs has not lost tits elasticity and preserved the voluptuous colors:
Another feature of the culture is the trepanned or deformed skulls. The majority of this community was subjected to skull deformation. There even existed a fashion on this and the fashion was changing from time to time. In the period of Paracas-cavern the V-shaped form was in favor (approximately at the same time at the territory of the ancient Mexico the Zapotecas were also shaping their skulls in the same way). During the Paracas-necropolis period the elongated form was preferred. However, it seemed that a creative approach in this domain was welcome as there can be found the skulls of the most various shapes:
The second most favorite activity of the ancient people of Paracas after the skull modeling was the trepanation. In some of the settlements half of the ancient skulls found is trepanned and some of them more than once:
Such procedures with the skulls were not a rare phenomenon. It was a common practice all over the planet from the very ancient times and up until recently among a number of primitive tribes. But such quantity and quality of trepanation can only be observed in this culture. Archaeologists highlight the high quality of the work performed by the ancient trepanation experts – around 80% of the surgeries were successful. No deep research was conducted on the topic, but the majority of researchers tend to agree that this way the ancient people tried to reach the ecstatic states or the states of enhanced perception, to acquire specific abilities, including the ones of the paranormal characters. It might be that the ancient surgeons were well-informed about the brain’s structure and function. This is proved by the different methods of brainpan penetration which demonstrate that the ancient people were exclusively interested in a particular area of brain and not just in the ritual of trepanation. These operations were performed with the tools made of bones and obsidian. A set of these tools was found in one of the tombs (pincers, obsidian knives, needles, scalpels and tourniquets for compressing the blood vessels, etc.).
Now let’s proceed to the culture of Nasca. The distinction between the cultures of Nasca and Paracas was rather made for the convenience of historians. I had an impression that this was just one developing culture. The style, the topics portrayed at the ceramics and textile, the lifestyle was similar. Nasca had more diversity and sophistication. The traces of Nasca are generally found at the area of the lines at Map 5 (the valleys of the rivers Nasca, Ica and Pisco). The number of population varied from 10 to 25 thousand people. Poeple lived in small settlements or villages; social organization – chiefdom. No signs of the centralized authority or script. In the tombs there can be found the golden and copper objects, adornments, wooden objects, weapons. In general, they enjoyed the well-being – no large children’s tombs are found. It is said that they did not have wars (no military scenes in the iconography and no military injuries at the corpses). The topics and the style of the ceramics allow to distinguish 8 or 9 phases of development. At final phases a change in the religious paradigm can be seen (a “flying cat-like” god and a goddess of fertility that is depicted with the generous and ample curves) plus the battle scenes emerge. Skull deformation and trepanation continued but in less quantities. The quality of textile decreased, but together with the geoglyphs it still remained to be the Nasca trademark so to say. Nasca has a splendid and diversely painted ceramics. There exist several religious centers, the biggest of which is the Cahuachi consisting of a set of pyramid-type mud constructions, which were used solely for entombments and rituals, and which was a center of pilgrimage visited by representatives of other cultures as well. It was abandoned and sealed (filled with sand) at about 300 AD. There existed an interesting irrigation system – the famous “lukios” which exist until now – the lengthy systems consisting of the underground and terrestrial channels and spiral wells:
One more aspect is related to the music. Judging by the number of the music instruments (mainly percussion and the wind instruments), the ancient Nasca people showed great respect to the music. In the book by Ershova G.G. “The ancient America: flying through the time and space” (12) there is mentioned a 15-tubed clay antar (a flute with several tubes) that is 90 sm long and has the walls of 1 mm and an internal surface well-polished and precisely tuned-up. This assumes a rather high level of music development which allows to perform rather complicated melodies close in virtuosity to the modern day music.
A few words about the creepy features of this culture.
The trophy heads. Similar traditions were observed basically in all of the ancient cultures in South America, including Incas. However, judging by the various drawings and discoveries of archaeologists, the citizens of ancient Nasca and Paracas were obsessed with this love to decapitation. It is not exactly correct to name them the trophy heads, since those were usually native people who were subjected to the procedure (it is proved by the absence of any battle or military operations). According to the estimation of archaeologists, not less than 10% of adult population was subjected to the execution, out of which 80% were men, and the rest consisted of women and juveniles. After a head was cut-off the frontal bone was pierced and a rope was inserted for the convenience of further utilization:
A rather passionate attitude to the heads can be observed – the eye-lids and lips were sewn up, while the skull was filled with fabric and the remains of food; the tongue was packed into a leather bag. The ritual head burials also took place (sometimes a burial comprised up to 40 heads and more); sometimes with the excrements placed into the mouth, etc. When looking at the drawings on the ceramics the impressions arises that the heads were often used in domestic activities, in rituals and performed a somewhat decorative function too:
Unfortunately, the mythology and the philosophy of those people, as Dr.K.Clados noted (25), are completely transparent for a modern observer. However, we can still make some conclusions. It is highly probable that among the population there were widely spread the magic and religious rituals which involved the use of hallucinogenic substances. The fact that the coca leaves and other hallucinogenic substances comprised a significant share of the Nascan consumer basket is proved by the different ceramic drawings and the findings in the tombs; this is highlighted in the works of many researchers. These communities found themselves at the lower stages of social development (those were usually the tribes that had a shaman-chief and in which all of the population was taking part in such rituals) that also adds to an explanation of these rituals.
With the rise of hierarchy in the society and with accession of the centralized state, the application of hallucinogenic substances for the ritual purposes became the prerogative of the noble, while afterwards it disappeared completely (this is how it also progressed at Inca’s where the psychotropic drugs could only be used by nobles and sorcerers, while the rest of the population could only enjoy the low-alcohol chicha) (21). And such approach is quite natural, since in the ancient world it was universally believed that such hallucinogenic rituals allow the participants to gain the extraordinary powers, allow them to turn into animals, go beyond the boundaries of the body and travel in space. Who of those in power would not want this? This topic is also very large, but in brief one can say that the described rituals were strictly regulated and managed and music, by the way, was a technical component there, performing the function of a conductor; the hallucinogenic substances (which were often prepared in a rather ingenious manner) were used as a means of obtaining a specific knowledge and experience, unlike to their use in the modern-day world, where they are used mainly uncontrollably and for the purpose of euphoria or escaping the hardships of the everyday life. If getting back to our lines and figures, it is worth mentioning that some ethnographers and supporters of alternative theories believe that the described traditions were somehow connected to the flights of shamans and not only to the imaginary flights but to the real ones as well, whatever incredible it seems. Indeed, one of the most widely spread heroes of the Paracas iconography was the so-called “flying God of Paracas” or “the mythological creature in the mask”, or “the flying daemon”:
As you may see, it was the physical flight that was highlighted at the drawings (the fluttering hair, the position of the body) and not a hallucinogenic trip through the virtual dimensions of other worlds. In fact, I did not perceive this version (the version of interconnection between the geoglyphs and the shamanic flights) seriously when I began this study. But the blatant Nascan absence of logic made me take into consideration and peer into all of the most incredible versions. What if indeed those drawings were just a raving of an Indian who took too much of his doze, while the rest of the local population was just “singing songs about the things that they saw”? The people at the drawings often hold in their hands something similar to a tumi – a knife that was used for trepanation. All of the flying heros possess the forehead adornments (top line – textile, Paracas), and during the Nasca times all of such heroes were also supposed to have a facial mask. Such objects are also be found in the entombments:
The mummy has a forehead adornment and it is attached slightly above its usual place (where most likely it was fixed) due to the absence of nose. It is not clear, if these are the authentic objects or a ritual imitation. As for the forehead adornments, the golden plates were often used to cover the trepanation passages in a skull. If to consider this version seriously, it may as well appear that all of this neurosurgery was required to achieve the extraordinary abilities, while the adornments were used as a badge of merit which was marking the certain achievements.
It is clear that the cat-like creatures depicted at the ceramics often represented the heroes of the local legends or various spirits which surrounded the world of an Indian in plenty at that time. But one can see the usual routine scenes at the ceramics too (like hunting, agricultural activities, erotic, etc.). There does exist a chance that we might find something on our topic through this source. However, it is clear that the majority of “oddities” will arise due to a complete absence of script or written sources and due to the lack of at least approximate information as to their mythology. Since there was no script, let’s refer to the drawings. There are enough of oddities available here, for example, robot-like figures and a process for which the music was involved (the multiple brown objects are the clay antars):
... or the six-fingered creatures and manipulations with the heads:
... utilization of heads of the most different condition not according to their direct application (I could not find the pictures of the trepanation process):
There are also the drawings which refer to the battle genre. In my opinion, however, these rather depict activities directed towards the unarmed people (with the focus on heads, of course) performed mainly by the cat-like gods:
An interesting fact is that the cat-like gods considered using the raw manioc too:
Before we move on to the next figure, I need to make a small digression. Many researchers raise the topic of disagreement between the labor input required for the production of lines and the quantity of population inhabiting that area at a time. It is hard to judge after 2000 years, but it seems like this question is nevertheless relevant. We have already seen that the lines were not simply the land plots where the stones were cleared away, but they were the deepened soil constructions of high quality with stone borders and constructions. At some of the sites in the desert there was practically no place left untouched by a similar or repeated construction works. In addition, the constructors made it as much more complicated for themselves as possible – at first, the stones were piled together at the lines and then they were distributed to the borders. Sometimes the borders run across the ready wide lines – that means that the stones were taken back so that to construct a border at an already cleaned site. At some of the wide lines the quantity of stones at the borders does not correspond to the quantity of stones cleaned away, in other words, the stone have disappeared somewhere.
In this regards, the next picture is of a certain interest. It’s a decent competitor to the already mentioned “astronaut”, which was found in the Temple of Scriptures in the Mexican Palenke:
It may be that this episode comes from some Nascan myth, which has not survived until the present times. Here a cat-like god who is devouring the objects similar to stones is used as a sort of a transportation vehicle for a warrior with a cat-like head, with a spear cast and a with complete battle set. This portrayal is rather unambiguous.
At the next group of figures there are depicted the activities which might be related to operations done at the trapezoids:
From the viewpoint of the Indian artists (who might have had no idea on what was going in the desert, as we saw it in the case of a 16-legged spider) it would be logical to interpret this picture as a mass ritual which included human sacrifices and dealt with a concept of fertility, etc. The two stone constructions at the end of the trapezoid could well be interpreted as the eyes. But there is another interesting detail here – at the bottom right drawing where there’s no mob scene the two flying cat-like gods leave the lines with dots behind them. And this is not a rare picture:
At the drawing to the right, the place of a cat-like god is taken by a “mythological bird” or a harpy which is another wide spread character at the drawings:
All these mythological creatures fit well for the role of mysterious artists in the deserts who made the lion’s share of work on lining and marking the desert with unclear means. Was it a specific being or some impersonal power that was acting through the various intermediaries (for example, the cat’s head can be seen at the bodies of fish, animals and plants) – that is not clear. I will repeat myself, but many of the things that we have reviewed here were likely to exist only in the minds of the Indians, but anyway we found no other candidates who could have performed the advanced technological procedures. In fact, what do you think an Indian would want to depict when drawing a harpy? If he could see a modern helicopter, it might be that he would draw something similar to a horrifying one-eyed bird. Though most likely, no highly advanced technologies, as we understand it, were applied. If to assume that trepanations were also done by the cat-like gods-artists, a question arises – why did they perform the operations with the help of the primitive instruments (bones, stones), which made operations much more complicated while their patients were subjected to more risk (even though these instruments were done rather well)? (For the record, it is worth saying that the surgeons did manage their task successfully). In addition, the quantity of “trophy” heads harvested not in the military action leaves an impression of a certain process to take place at the population, where the population served as a handy available material. We’ve seen that at the lines there is a lot of primitive handwork performed at the different stages of the construction process. That means that there was a need in involving the local population for rough works. It reminds of many other facts which took place in all over the ancient world – in many places there are available the traces of advanced technologies mixed up with the primitive rough work, while no technological instruments or tools are ever found there. This revokes in mind one of the scenes from the “The Mysterious Island” by Jules Verne. If you remember there was this engineer Syros Smith who produced a few liters of nitroglycerine to blow-up a granite rock basically at his knees only with the help of his knowledge of chemistry. What we see in the desert of Nasca is very similar to someone applying the knowledge that is not familiar to us – a deeper information on the principles of the world around us and of the human consciousness. Maria Reiche also spoke about this when she contemplated upon an unknown equipment and the ancient knowledge concealed from the conquerors.
Let’s get back to Nasca. Not far from Cahuachi there is an interesting construction of the Nasca period which is considered to be a wooden Stonehenge of the ancient Peru. It consists of a hundred of dried mesquite trunks. The centre of this structure is represented by a quadrangle made of 12 rows with 12 columns each. Unfortunately, almost nothing of it has survived until now – the local population use it as timber (the top photos were made yet in 40-s):
This site is often compared to the American HAARP project which dealt with the study of aurora borealis or the northern lights. Its application, as you may understand, is not clear, while the official version believes it to be an astronomer’s calendar. It also slightly resembles to the megalithic constructions in Europe. It is a matter of common knowledge that various types of menhirs, cromlechs and dolmens are scattered all over around the world:
Below is the scheme of the menhir complex located in Carnac, France, and the stages of the Stonehenge construction, compared to other sites in Nasca:
Coincidences might be incidental here, however, the purpose and application of both of the sites remains unknown, though constructions of this type are often accompanied with the hypotheses on existence of the various energetic flows of extraordinary nature at such spots. The version that the lines were used as a guide for the energy flows is not new. Belokon A.T. in his wonderful book “The desert of Nasca. The tracks of an alien mind” compared the combination of lines with the schemes of geometrical optics. The concept of geometrical optics (reflections, projections, targeting) is constantly coming into the scene throughout the whole review. From time to time (though rarely) there occur the elements which resemble to the certain objects used for deflection of a ray-current. Two of such elements can be seen well at the top photos; in the bottom there is a comparison of the lines’ combinations with the optic scheme for creating a hologram and with a geoglyph near Viru that shifts into something like an atmospheric discharge: Fig 195. It might be that the magnetic anomalies, discovered at the lines, are not the result of the permanent promenades at the lines, but the remains of an energy flow of an unknown nature. However, how can we apply this information to explanation of the drawings and the curves? Not clear how. Unless we assume that a trapezoid, with all of its elements reminding of optics, was a sort of energizing structure, while all of the T-lines, drawings and roundings were the tracks of an object that consumed energy. However, for such object, considering the sharp change of its direction of the movement, one would have to change the laws of physics and cancel the concept of inertia… Mysteries and mysteries again…
I guess, by now all of the serious people who got to the addendum are already busy with their own staff and, hence, nothing prevents us from contemplating about the conduct and actions of the cat-like god-artists in the desert of Nasca.
Merely the shamanic flights under the influence of the properly prepared cactuses, or the revelations received from other worlds would be not enough to explain all this geometry, the T-lines, the Bezier curves, 3D and estrellas. We can only contemplate and imagine what was happening there indeed. One of the versions, for example, is that all of these are the results of the influence of an extraterrestrial civilization that was solving various task of its own at our planet. However, since no remains of any technological tools and means have been found so far, there arises a reasonable suggestion that operations were performed with the help of whatever was handy and available (the method of Syros Smith) and possibly through other beings that were inhabiting our planet.
Considering the mentioned above, what comes to mind is the avatar technology, which became very famous due to the similarly-named movie. I am not sure how it can be weaved into the process in our case, but let’s assume that there existed a technology which allowed to replace the consciousness of a subject or a group of subjects (similarly to what takes place, or is believed to take place, with the possessed people, mediums and all sorts of out-of-body experiences). We would result with a subject or even a group of subjects who would possess more exhaustive information on the world’s structure, and who would begin to resolve their weird tasks by the means that are beyond the frames of our comprehension (in the example of Syros Smith the indigenous people would see his actions as a witchcraft through which he was able to get access to the miraculous thunder-water from under the ground and which allowed him to destroy the mountains). What if all these experiments with the skulls were performed simply for the purpose of preparing a more suitable avatar or form?
Here one may recall the various concepts about the parallel worlds, the astral, the spiritual-material component, etc. However, all of these rather represent a supplement or supplements to our world; in other words, they are the copies of our wonderful world which reflect the matters of our world rather symmetrically. However, what if things are not exactly like this? What if our little material world is only a miserable part in a condensed space surrounded with the boundless ocean of the forms of existence and consciousness (as it is described by Robert Monroe, Daniil Andreev, Carlos Castaneda and many others)? Let’s contemplate further. With such an approach it would appear that many of the strange things that happen to us from time to time (the various UFOs, anomalous effects, etc.) happen occasionally – like a mushroom hunter ending-up by mistake in a forest he did not plan to be at, to which he came by mistake, having lost his path and from which he probably does not need anything (neither from its inhabitants, from us). In this case there may occur that all of the myths, legends or shaman stories that the modern-day ethnographers and historians have accumulated so far may first of all appear to be true, secondly, they may appear to be a faded copy, a black-and-white movie of the colorful reality. Of course, as R.Monroe says, this case would cross the boundaries of the human science, morality and the religions of the human world.
However, judging by the facts, it may appear that someone does need something from us. It becomes more and more evident to more and more people that our official history is not exactly true. The entire unknown is perceived by us as a potential threat to our life since suspiciousness is part of us. Well, such approach is rather natural and justified, however, sometimes it prevents us from having an honest, unbiased and open-minded look at the things that seem unknown and, hence, scary to us. What if we need an impetus from an outside to do this? When looking at the ancient history, and at other periods of history too, we come across the words like decline, extinction, degeneration, downfall of civilizations and cultures as often as across the words genesis, amalgamation, development. There is a great number of examples of primitive cultures which froze at a certain stage of historic development. Therefore, it might be that impacts from the outside are completely necessary for a correct and balanced development of a project under the title “homo sapience”? Of course, such jolts do not come painlessly and sometimes an attempt which was unsuccessful (for example, a degrading community) will have to be used as a nutrient medium for another attempt – a more perspective and successful one. I beg my pardon for utilization of the biology terms in relation to our civilization, but it might as well be that exactly this type of process is in fact applicable and is the most efficient in our case.
You see that there is no life–affirming ending to our story. Hence, allow me to conclude at this questioning mark and to say thank you, dear Reader, for the long-lasting patience and for the joint effort to touch upon a mystery called the geoglyphs of Nasca.
The author expresses deep appreciation to:
Sklyarov A.A. for the provided materials and photos made during an expedition of LAI to Peru in 2007;
Belokon A.T. for the provided materials;
Tatukov A.G. for the high-quality draughtsmanships of the Nasca lines and for a number of ideas that were used in the article;
Designers Buravlev I. And Laryushkina O. For the assistance with the drawings.
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