"Nazca lines": The geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa, Peru (in German)


To publish something in the internet about this theme may appear presumptuous for an archaeologist who still never was in Peru and who was not engaged with american cultures up to now. Specialists may excuse me some faults and simplifications.
I hope you don't expect that I commit me to a definite explanation of these structures!

Between Lima, the capital of Peru, the Lake Titicaca, the Andes and the coast, there spreads a partly flat, partly hilly desert, which is passed through by several oasis-like river valleys. The extremely dry stone desert (Pampa) around the small towns of Nazca and Palpa is famous for its mysterious hugh signs and drawings on the ground called geoglyphs, which the ancient inhabitants created on mountain slopes, plateaus and over all in the pampa long before the Inka period. They can be found from 80 m over sea level along the lower Río Grande up to 990 m high on plateaus in the mountains, most of them lying in nearly flat pampa about 500 m. Allover spread map

These huge drawings, signs and lines are made by moving away of the upper stone layer which is darker by oxidation or by rowing this stones to walls. The resulting linear structures can reach a lenght up to 12 km, one of the areas is 10¼ km long! By help of the Google Maps satellite images ist is meanwhile possible to see nearly all bigger geoglyphs on your screen; thousands of structures which originate beween 200 BC and 600 AD. Very helpful is my interactive geoglyph map. Should you find some geoglyphs which I did not remark, I thank for each tip, the same for each serious suggestion and reasonable correction proposals
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Caution: Searching can make obsessive! But "smaller" drawings, so the monkey (ca. 30 m), are only partly visible in satellite images and mostly nearly not to recognize. Also some lines, which may be as narrow as a hand, will remain unvisible. – Destination of coordinates

No navigation bar below? Click Start Nazca lines, please!           The first published actual overall distribution map of geoglyphs in the drainage of Río Grande:


This map is not complete, because the conditions for preservation and visibility are very different, and it will be accomplished then and when. So, figural drawings are only recognizable in the satellite images to a minor part and are omitted here. Linear elements are not ever surely to distinguish from track traces of newer times. Some elements are drawn after Karsten Lambers' publication and the Nazca GIS of Dresden technical university, some entrances are according personal informations.
The colours: brownish orange lines; bright blue / dark blue rectangular fields less/more than 40 m broad, bright red / dark red triangular or trapezoid fields less/more than 40 m broad (maximum). Yellow is an Inka road. Green is the today arable land, blue the rivers, from which only a part flows the whole year.

Bad English: make correction suggestions to the author!

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