Wednesday 3 November 2010

Land mines for graffiti prevention: the underwhelming Nazca lines

I was really looking forward to seeing the world heritage listed Nazca lines after reading an article in National Geographic about them, but to be honest I was fairly underwhelmed.

The lines were created by a number of different cultures in the Nazca desert from 900 BC to 600 AD - I believe these dates were arrived at by dating pottery found inside the lines.  Theories abound as to what their purpose was, but the most plausible to my reckoning was that they were walked as part of a water-worship ritual, i.e. a prayer for rain - each geoglyph is constructed in a single continuous line.

The lines were made by scraping away the dark surface rock to expose the light sand underneath.  They are actually quite thin - the ones we saw were less than a foot wide.  I seriously think I could knock one out in a day or two.  Apparently the lines are surrounded by land mines, which is probably the only reason we haven't seen something like this happen in the past few years:

I also don't buy the argument that you need to see them from the air, and subsequent speculation the Nazcans had primitive hot air balloons.  We viewed the hands and the tree from a 20m platform (the flights were too dangerous, there have been a lot of accidents and some recent deaths) - I'm sure the Nazcans could have imported enough wood to build something similar.  Even without a platform, you can accomplish a lot through careful design and measurement: put 'crop circles' into google image search :)

1 comment:

Thijs said...

Interesting additional 'Nasca-figure' at your Alien-pic...