How the Nazca Lines were made

how were nazca lines made

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The mysterious Nazca Lines are found in the middle of the desert of southern Peru, located just outside the city of Nazca. To date, these lines remain a mystery to scientists. No one seems to know why they were made and what they were for. Fortunately, the only thing that experts can agree on is how the Nazca Lines were made. Live the experience of knowing the Nazca Lines thanks to our Peru travel packages. As usual, knowing exactly about real things from the past is almost impossible. Scientists and archaeologists can only guess the origin of some archaeological complexes and ancient objects. Even when they do their best, they only have similar opinions and research on how the Nazca Lines were made. Therefore, together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article about how the Nazca lines were made. Get ready to immerse yourself in the ancient culture of Nazca.

How the Nazca lines were made and everything about this mysterious site

WHAT ARE THE NAZCA LINES?

how the nazca lines were made and what are the nazca lines

The Nazca lines are geoglyphs, located in an arid coastal area of Peru, that cover about 170 square miles. The lines are etched into the ground and there are literally thousands of different designs depicting creatures from both the natural world and the imagination. These designs feature animals such as the spider, the Nazca lines hummingbird, the monkey, the lizard, the pelican, and a whale. You can also find plant designs like trees, flowers, and geometric shapes like wavy lines, triangles, spirals, and rectangles.

HOW WERE THEY DRAWN? SOME THEORIES

how the Nazca lines were made and drawn and theories

But the real question that everyone asks when visiting this site is, how the Nazca lines were made? The different lines are geoglyphs on the ground that are made by removing rocks and dirt to create a specific image. The desert floor has worn away for thousands of years, so when the upper rocks were removed, they revealed a light sand-colored rock. This light-colored rock is how we see lines. Due to the dry climate, the lines have been preserved for a period of 500 to 2000 years. Scientists believe the lines were made by the Nazca people, around 10 to 700 AD. Given the precision of the shapes of the Nazca lines and their enormous proportions, it is believed that the Nazca people used grids made of ropes and stakes to represent the scale drawings. The prestigious archaeologist Maria Reiche formulated some theories as to how the lines were made.

  • Lines: The Nazca used wooden stakes attached by a rope. They set the stakes as a guide in a straight line. This technique allowed them to repeat the process and draw very long lines and shapes.
  • Spirals: The inhabitants of the Nazca culture tied a rope to two or three posts in triangular patterns. They then rotate to draw a growing spiral.
  • Figures: The Nazca geoglyphs were designed and even painted, to scale on canvas. To create them, the Nazca tied ropes to stakes and drew in different proportions.
  • Conservation: The lines have endured for centuries thanks to two phenomena. After absorbing the heat of the day, the contour stones generate a cushion of hot air that protects them from the wind. Besides, the soil contains plaster which, when cooled by the morning mist, creates a protective layer. Thanks to these two phenomena, the lines were able to survive for so many years.

how the nazca lines were made and drawn

WHERE ARE THE NAZCA LINES?

how the nazca lines were made and where are they

The lines are located about 200 miles south of Lima, the Peruvian capital. The area has 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, and 70 designs of animals and plants. Some of the lines are around 30 miles long and some are 1,200 feet long. The Panamericana Sur traverses the entire Nazca plain in a straight line, usually as a guide to appreciate different figures and designs. On the left side of Panamericana are figures such as the llama, the hummingbird, the fish, the monkey, the dog, the vulture, and the spider. On the right side of Panamericana, you will find figures such as lizards, flamingos, and parrots. There are other figures near the Maria Reiche Neuman Airport, such as looms and needles.

HOW TO SEE THEM?

how the nazca lines were made and how to see them

To answer the question of how the Nazca lines were made, you should see them on your own. The flight over the lines can be taken from the Nazca airport or from the Paracas airport, which is located in the north of Nazca. In some tours in Paracas, you will have this destination included and you can also visit the fascinating Ballestas Islands and see the thousands of varieties of birds. Also, see the sea lions lazing around in the sun.

  • Two ways to see them: Whether you want a luxury Nazca Lines tour or are on a travel budget, you will find something for yourself at this incredible location. The mysterious Nazca Lines await you to discover them. You can choose to take the adventurous plan of the trip on a plane or see the lines from the observation tower located on the outskirts of the city of Nazca. The best way to see the Nazca lines is by plane, this way you will see the lines clearly. Besides, you can go to the observation tower located on the outskirts of the city of Nazca, from the tower you will see some figures and it will cost you a few soles. This way is much cheaper but you will not be able to fully appreciate all the lines
  • The real tour: The Nazca Lines tour allows you to witness the impressive feats of ancient Peruvian men throughout time. Also, it allows you to explore the colossal sand dunes of Paracas, ideal for a buggy or sandboard ride. You can continue to Ica to visit the beautiful natural oasis Huacachina. As you do so, you can end with a short tour of a winery. There, delight yourself with the best and delicious Peruvian Pisco. The different tours in Peru will give you so many alternatives and options to complement your trip, that you will be pleased with the result.

how the nazca lines were made and the guided museum tour

Come to know the Nazca Lines in the desert of southern Peru. Something that should be on your wishlist. Don’t forget to see the rest of Peru and the incredible history that the country offers.

THE DISCOVERY OF THE NAZCA LINES AND OTHER HISTORICAL FACTS

how the nazca lines were made and the history

Since its discovery, many have tried to delve into the question of how the Nazca lines were made. The Nazca lines are said to date back from 200BC to 500AD. This was the time when the Nazca people lived in the region. The ancient Nazca people, in their prehistoric culture, used engineering techniques to bring water to the surface for irrigation purposes. Some of the most interesting facts are the following:

  • It is mentioned that the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejía Xesspe was the first to study and report the Nazca Lines after discovering the lines on foot in 1927. Then, with the increase in air travel in the 1930s, these lines became more known and today attract multiple tourists each year. Thanks to him you can enjoy the Nazca lines map and all its wealth. 
  • In the 1940s, American professor Paul Kosok investigated the lines when the sun set. He noticed that the sunset was in direct alignment with the lines, which is why he called the lines the largest astronomy book in the world. 
  • Maria Reiche was another renowned student of the Nazca lines. Reiche studied the Nazca lines images for 40 years and fought tirelessly for the acceptance of her theories. She claimed that the Nazca lines were made for a clear astronomical purpose. Reiche believed that the geoglyphs functioned as a type of calendar.
  • Mr. Proulx and Mr. David Johnson had been working on the Nazca Lines since 1996 and found the connection between the lines and the water system. Johnson mapped the location of wells and faults that were sources of fresh watermarked by geoglyphs.
  • Johnson and Proulx stated the following: “Trapezoids were found directly above the tracks where the width of the tracks defined the width of the fault zone capable of transmitting groundwater.” The comments and observations led them to a new hypothesis to explain the purpose of the lines. The Nazca Lines in Peru were used as a source of water, and the Nazca people depended on them for freshwater.

how the nazca lines were made and the maria reiche museum

There is no doubt that the global understanding of the Nasca lines will continue to evolve with the passing of the years and new technological advances. Likewise, it is never too late for you to fly over the Nazca lines and put together your own theories about how they were made.

THEORIES SURROUNDING THE NAZCA LINES

how nazca lines were made and theories surrounding the place

Due to the mystery surrounding the question of how the Nazca lines were made, many conspiracy theories emerged to make sense of it. In addition, given that at ground level it is not possible to perceive whether the figures are correctly drawn or not, it is thought that the construction had to be directed from a high place. Although many think that these lines can only be seen from the air, they can also be found in the hills that surround the pampas (plains) and valleys. Figures up to nearly 300 meters long look perfect there. This sighting from the land makes it the main aspect to confirm that the creators of these feats were the Nazca people. Even so, the perfection of the plot unleashed more than one theory, among which are solstices, constellations, and extraterrestrial sun gods.

“HAVE STORIES TO TELL, NOT STUFF TO SHOW.”

We hope together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru to have been of help. We believe that the best way to answer the question of how the Nazca lines were made is with a complete journey through them. Do not miss the mystical and magical experience of walking these amazing geoglyphs. If you want to know more about our tours of the lines, you can consult with our charming advisors. They will be happy to help you with everything regarding your next trip to Peru.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!