275 miles south of Lima, Peru, on a lonely stretch of the Pan-American Highway, a town called Nasca lies, which lies in the Pampa region, an isolated plain on the northern tip of the Atacama Desert. What is unique about this area is the Nazca Lines, a spider’s-web of lines and shapes crisscrossing 250 square miles of bone-dry desert. And since their “discovery” in the 1920s their origin and purpose has baffled scientists and laymen alike.
The Nazca Lines are composed of trapezoids and spirals, giant animal and humanoid figures, and ruler-straight lines that extend for miles. These "geoglyphs”, lines and ground drawings are attributed to the Nasca race that inhabited this area between 200 B.C. and 600 A.D. These lines were created by removing the top layer of dark rock from the desert ground, revealing contrasting white-yellow sand. Hence the drawings are best viewed and appreciated from the air.
Annually an average rainfall in this desert is a half-inch. The Atacama’s Nazca Lines have been preserved for thousands of years as they are located in the driest place on earth.
Many scientists and experts have since then attempted to reveal the mystery of the desert drawings.
Some considered them to be the remnants of irrigation channels. But when traveling by foot experts soon discovered large-scale drawings of animals and other objects. In this way a theory that Nazca Lines are a large astronomical chart appeared.
Various experts had various theories. Some renowned Peruvian archaeologists proposed the lines to be sacred pathways, or “ceques,” and the clearings used for ritual gatherings. The others claim that the lines were laid out for alien spacecraft to land on the desert.
Though there are plenty of numerous theories explaining the purpose of these strange markings, there remains no consensus as to their meaning.
Because these researchers brought more attention to the Nazca Lines, the usually lonely desert was unexpectedly under threat. The Lines of Nazca were designated in 1994 a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
And till nowadays the Lines of Nazca remain a mysterious remnant from an ancient civilization.