A team of researchers led by Professor Masato Sakai of Yamagata University in concert with Peruvian archeologist Jorge Olano has uncovered 168 new geoglyphs on the Nazca Pampa.
Using drones and aerial photography, the group has identified numerous images featuring a myriad of creatures like birds, fish, monkeys, and snakes. Also among the mysterious drawings are many which resemble humans walking and hunting.
It’s estimated the geoglyphs were created by members of the ancient Nazca culture between 100 B.C.E. and 300 C.E. The location—a high arid plateau between the towns of Palpa and Nazca—is about 250 miles south of Lima and covers an area of nearly 170 square miles. Though the artworks (commonly called Nazca Lines) vary in size, some are as small as 30 feet in diameter.
The Pre-Columbian population of Nazca developed a technique to reveal the lighter sand below the Earth’s surface by removing the darker stones above. Though experts can only speculate about the purpose of the immense renderings, it’s typically thought that the Nazca people desired the menagerie of beings to be seen by deities in the sky.
Images: Yamagata University