The interpretation of geoglyphs: from reliable to grotesque

Only a few archaeological phenomena have stimulated the imagination of amateurs and scientists so much as the Nazca geoglyphs until to Erich v. Daenicken's grotesque alien theory. By new investigations, above all the Nazca-Palpa-Project, interpretation patterns are crystallizing out, which are not new, but can be proved better by overall more intense knowledge. So Markus Reindel speaks of a ritual landscape where geoglyphs had similar functions as religous inspired buildings like pyramids, temples or megaliths in other cultures. The evidence of platform-like structures together with the geoglyphs and the remains of offering gifts found there may reflect rites having to do with water and fertility. Geophysical investigations have found strong soil compressions along the geoglyphs which may be a result of constant repeated walking, perhaps in the course of ritual processions. This seems quite compatible to the meaning that at the same time local groups of geoglyphs were visible signs of individual clans.

There are also astronomical based interpretations, over all concerning the obvious connection between particular lines and local astronomic events (summer and winter solstice), which were important for definition of seasons especially in oasis cultures like here, where seasonally the rivers were in flood important for surviving. Also these aspects make sense in a interpretation context of water and fertility rituals. However, already Maria Reiche points out, that the mass of lines and line directions may give random agreement with the directions of astronomic events and that some lines running north-south make nearly no sense in those areas near to the equator.

Interpretation attempts about the animal soil drawings among the geoglyphs, which play a minor roll between them, are still unsatisfactory. Only a part of them can be surely assigned to a defined animal type, as the monkey which can not live in this area or the wales, partly with "cat" heads. Oftenly the contours are one-lined and turned out as parts of much larger line systems. 

Other monocausal interpretations seem oftenly too simple to be correct. David Johnson for instance maintains, that trapezoids assign submerse water streams which were usable for the peasants and that its positions are exactly above them. That makes no sense concerning many marginal geoglyphs, so those laying on mountain plateaus nearly 1000 m high and far away from the oasis valleys much deeper. From a scientific view, it is not comprehensible if the deflection of a self-prooved divining rod is the striking argument for such assumptions.

An internet site (which must be read with caution) summarizes all possible Interpretations. Searching the internet for words like Nasca, Nazca, Nasca lines, geoglyphs and so on will give a lot of nonsens among some few serious sites.

Page still under construction. Bad English: make correction suggestions to the author!

Start of Museum Albersdorf (German language)  Start Nazca lines  Back Volker Arnold, last changes: