Drone Discovers Ancient Etchings in Peru

© Charles Stanish

Drones flying and hovering over the mountains of Peru have spotted some astonishing ancient “artwork”. These geoglyphs were previously undiscovered and are called Nazca Lines. They were possibly created by an ancient people called Nazca’ as far back as 2,500 years ago.  There are about 50 of these artwork and this number is proof that the geoglyphs have been around the region for thousands of years.

“It is a fascinating discovery”, stated Charles Stanish, who has been working at the University of South Florida for more than 30 years. Stanish is the executive director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Culture and Environment and has been involved in the discovery of other lines.  The Nazca lines are thin and long, just several inches wide but some as long as a football field. They were probably made by the Paracas and Topará people, who existed around 500 B.C. This amazing discovery was funded by the National Geographic Society.

The Ancient Nazca Lines

In 1927, researchers discovered lines when an archaeologist from Peru name Toribio Mejía Xesspe discovered them. Not long after, the area was made a hot spot for tourism and because the aerial view was incredible, pilots flew over the site showing off the etchings.  It’s unclear why an ancient people made these lines, but some experts and archaeologists believe that these lines may represent constellations visible at night. These lines could have been used for rituals by the Nazca people or possibly for irrigating their dry desert land.

Sarah Parcak is a space archaeologist who partnered with the Nazca team to examine this archaeological site. Parcak and her team had previously used aerial photography to discover potential Viking sites in Newfoundland, Canada. So it wasn’t a surprise that Parcak used drones to take images which helped the archaeologists discover and study the Nazca lines.

Most of the etchings were of human shapes and included warriors. They are a tad smaller than other lines, but still amazing.  Furthermore, the Nazca Lines were etched on flatlands, while most of the others were created on hilly regions. It’s possible that residents in the towns could spot the lines at the top of the hills.

Archaeologists believe that they can protect all of the Peruvian geoglyphs. As the number of residents increases, preserving these sites have never been more important. Stanish stated that some of the lines were being destroyed due to the country’s booming economy and they hope to preserve the lines.

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