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31 January 2009
Nazca lines created by prayers walking?

The Nazca lines are huge, intricate geoglyphs, built directly into the ground of the Nazca Desert, in modern-day Peru. The arid stretch of land is 80 kilometers (50 miles) long, and houses a myriad of intricate drawings, visible only from the air and satellite, which has prompted the question as to what created them, and how the shapes came out so perfect. The Nazca people practically removed the reddish pebbles that covered the entire arid region, thus revealing the whitish sand underneath. It goes without saying that they had no helicopters to survey the construction of the signs, so the question of how they did it has remained to this day.
     One theory is that they used simple survey techniques, such as inserting wooden poles at the end of each line, to give them a sense of perspective on how work was going. However, this is insufficient to explain how such perfectly-geometrical shapes came to be. A new hypothesis, belonging to professor Tomasz Gorka from the Munich University in Germany, maintains that the lines were most likely drawn by an endless procession of praying people, who were made to walk designated portions of the barren landscape back and forth.
     To back up his assumption, the archaeologist considers that the ceramic vessels found near all the lines probably contained offerings to the gods, and that the poles in the ground were designed to make them move straight from one point to the other. However, this find doesn't give a rational explanation as to why the Nazca people built the lines in the first place. Some say that they were messages to the gods, while others argue that they were used to track celestial objects.
     "We found other lines, in the interior of the trapezoid structures, which were not visible from the air. The geoglyphs visible today are the most recent stage of a prolonged construction process during which the whole complex of drawings was constantly added to, remodeled, obliterated or changed by use," Gorka says, after discovering other drawings in the ground that are invisible from the sky. He and his team walked the entire 60 hectare-wide area with hand-held scanners, to detect magnetic anomalies.
     The finds have led him to believe that the lines were actually intricate praying paths, directed by high religious leaders. However, the great mystery of who made them start a process that would last from 400 BCE to 650 CE (1050 years) remains, and researchers admit there is little chance of them finding that out anytime soon.

Source: Softpedia (26 January 2009)

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