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Mysterious Nazca Lines reveal their secrets

Scientists are shedding new light on the mysterious Nazca Lines etched in the desert of southern Peru, revealing what some of the drawings actually depict.

UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 249 miles south of Lima, the Lines are regarded as one of archaeology’s great mysteries. The lines are scratched into the dark ground to reveal the lighter-colored earth underneath, and are best viewed from the air. They depict a range of animals, plants, imaginary beings and geometric figures.

Experts from the Hokkaido University Museum, the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology and Yamagata University in Japan studied the 16 bird geoglyphs among the more than 2,000 drawings in the area.

“Until now, the birds in these drawings have been identified based on general impressions or a few morphological traits present in each figure,” said Masaki Eda of the Hokkaido University Museum, in a statement. “We closely noted the shapes and relative sizes of the birds’ beaks, heads, necks, bodies, wings, tails and feet and compared them with those of modern birds in Peru.”

The research re-classified a previously identified hummingbird as a hermit.

The research re-classified a previously identified hummingbird as a hermit. (Masaki Eda)

The scientists were then able to reclassify some of the drawings. One famous shape carved into the desert, long thought to be a hummingbird, actually depicts a hermit, they say. Another drawing, which was previously thought to be a guano bird, is actually a pelican, as is another long unidentified bird among the drawings.

“The Nasca people who drew the images could have seen pelicans while food-gathering on the coast,” Eda explained. “Our findings show that they drew exotic birds, not local birds, and this could be a clue as to why they drew them in the first place.”

Etched into the ground by pre-Inca people, the Nazca Lines date from 400 B.C. to 1000 A.D. Mystery, however, still swirls around why they were created. Theories include that they are a primitive Sun calendar, an irrigation system or even an alien landing strip, according to LiveScience.

With its long and thin bill, short legs, three toes facing the same direction, and the long tail with an elongated middle section, the previously identified hummingbird is re-classified as a hermit. In Peru, long and pointed tails only occur in hermits whereas the tails of typical hummingbirds are forked or fan-shaped. (Eda M., Yamasaki T., Sakai M. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. June 20, 2019)

With its long and thin bill, short legs, three toes facing the same direction, and the long tail with an elongated middle section, the previously identified hummingbird is re-classified as a hermit. In Peru, long and pointed tails only occur in hermits whereas the tails of typical hummingbirds are forked or fan-shaped. (Eda M., Yamasaki T., Sakai M. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. June 20, 2019)

The researchers’ study is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Ancient temple discovered in Peru

Ancient temple discovered in Peru

Published February 15, 2013

LiveScience

  • peru-elParaiso

    Excavators stand near a newly discovered temple at the archeological site El Paraíso in Peru. (Peru Ministry of Culture)

Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered what they believe is a temple, estimated to be up to 5,000 years old, at the site of El Paraíso, north of Lima.

Inside the ruins of the ancient room, which measures about 23 feet by 26 feet, there’s evidence of a ceremonial hearth, where offerings may have been burned, archaeologists say. The temple also had a narrow entrance and stone walls covered with yellow clay, on which traces of red paint were found, according to a statement from Peru’s Ministry of Culture.

El Paraíso, located on the central coast of Peru, just north of Lima, is a site made up of 10 buildings stretching over 123 acres. It’s one of the earliest known examples of monumental stone architecture in the Americas, dating back to the Late Preceramic period (3500-1800 B.C.). The newly found building is thought to date back to 3000 B.C., which should be confirmed with a radiocarbon analysis.

Rafael Varón, Peru’s deputy minister for culture, said in a statement that the discovery of the temple “has particular importance because it is the first structure of this type found on the central coast.” It suggests that the Lima region had more religious, economic and political importance during this early period than previously thought, Varón added.

Previously, man-made mounds shaped like orcas, condors and even a duck were discovered in Peru’s coastal valleys, including at El Paraíso, by anthropologist Robert Benfer, professor emeritus of the University of Missouri, who spotted the mounds in satellite photos. One curious mound found in El Paraíso in the Chillón Valley was of a condor head whose burned-charcoal eye was likely the place where offerings were once burned. The condor was also positioned to line up with the most extreme orientation of the Milky Way as seen from the Chillón Valley. [See Photos of the Animal Mounds]

A second mound, right next to the condor, looked like a combination of a puma and alligatorlike cayman, Benfer said. That one was oriented toward the spot where the sun rises on the day of the June solstice, the start of summer.

Dating to more than 4,000 years ago, the structures may be the oldest evidence of animal mounds outside of North America, Benfer said last year. The previous oldest animal structures date to about 2,000 years ago, part of the Nazca Lines. These lines are simple stone outlines of animals decorating the Nazca Desert in Peru.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/15/ancient-temple-discovered-in-peru/?intcmp=features#ixzz2L7a2CVrS

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New Nazca Line Theory

Nazca Lines In Peru May Have Formed A Labyrinth For Spiritual Journeys, Research Suggests (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 12/12/2012 11:38 am EST  |  Updated: 12/12/2012 11:50 am EST

After five years of work and walking nearly 1,000 miles through the driest desert in the world, a British archaeologist believes he’s solved one part of the mystery of Peru’s Nazca Lines.

The ancient lines, known as “geoglyphs,” crisscross Peru’s Nazca desert, forming countless shapes that may date back to 500 B.C. In one particular region, researcher Clive Ruggles, of the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, says he’s identified a labyrinth.

Unlike many of the more famous animal-shaped Nazca Lines formations, Ruggles notes the labyrinth is barely discernible from the air. Indeed, writes Ruggles on his website, “it was not meant to be ‘seen’ from outside at all, but rather to be experienced from within. It was meant to be walked. This leads on to the question of by whom, and in what circumstances.”

PHOTO of the labyrinth, with spiral passageway visible at bottom left:
nazca lines labrynth

He speculates the labyrinth’s construction occurred in the middle of he 800-year-long “Nazca period,” around A.D. 500.

According to Discovery News, the labyrinth’s path is predominantly shaped by 15 corners that alternately carry travelers toward and away from a large hill. The 2.7-mile long journey ultimately ends in a spiral passageway.

The structure has no clear purpose, leading to speculation in Science News that the path could have been reserved for spiritual journeys taken by shamans or Nazca gods.

Many of the Nazca lines are miles long and perfectly straight:
nazca lines labrynth

Ruggles and a colleague, Nicholas Saunders, of the University of Bristol’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, report their findings in the December issue of Antiquities.

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