Sunday, December 26, 2010

LInes In The Desert Plains Chapter 11: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

From 1-450 A.D. the headhunting increased and so did the fertility rituals at Cahuachi. It is believed this was one of the reasons for its abandonment.

Nazca Diety with Trophy Heads

If ancient astronauts were actually present, the duration of their visitation to the area would have been short maybe around 100 years at the most. Their visits to Nazca would have been infrequent an unpredictable. It is probable that the Band of Holes operation did not last long, especially when it comes to an advanced race of space travelers with a very high technology. But they could have been dug through human labor and that would have taken longer.

Nazca Fertility Diety pottery

About 700 A.D. the Nazca culture ceased when the land was no longer suitable for agriculture due to a change in climate. It is believed the region may have been hit by a Super el Nino. There may have been another reason as well as the coast of Peru lies on a fault line and has a history of earthquakes, and all the desert regions discussed here are near this Pacific Ocean fault. Today tremors and earthquakes happen there frequently.

Maria Rieche used the profits from her book to campaign for the preservation of the Nazca Desert. She convinced the government to restrict public access to the area.
She sponsored the construction of towers near the highway so visitors could overview the lines.

Tower on Panamerican Highway
There are also other locations along the highway where one can overlook the Nazca Lines.

Today people trying to preserve the Nazca Lines are concerned about threats of pollution and erosion caused by deforestation in the region. The Pan American Highway cuts right across the Nazca Lines. The lines are superficial, they are only about 10-30 cm (4-12 inches) deep and could be washed away:

A Nazca Line
 The Nazca desert receives only a very small amount rain every year. But there are
changes to the weather all over the world. The lines cannot resist heavy rain without being damaged. After flooding and mud-slides in mid 2007 a team from Peru’s National Institute of Culture surveyed the area, and although the Pan American Highway did not suffer damage, damage to the roads elsewhere should serve as a reminder of just how fragile the Nazca lines are.

The Nasca Airport

Tourists are not allowed to walk on the Nazca Plain, they must view it from the
highway, or arrange for a flight from one of the air companies nearby who do this as a daily business.

The End

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lines In The Desert Plains Chapter 10: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

A common source of data for Archeoastronomy is the study of alignments. This is based on the assumption that the axis of an archeological site is meaningfully oriented towards an astronomical object. Alignments are unlikely to be chosen by chance, usually by demonstrating common patterns of alignment at multiple sites. Alignments of the Nazca Lines at sunrise and sunset on the day of the zenith passage were found by Paul Kosok. Let us assume we are in a spacecraft entering the Earth’s atmosphere near the North Pole.


We fly south along the western coast of the Americas until we reach Peru. A giant trident or candelabra is seen on the side of a mountain on the Paracas Peninsula near Pisco pointing southeast toward the Nazca lines.

The Candelabra Explained

The sign shows a pyramid near the bottom and our spaceship at the top which tells us to change our heading to the southeast to Cahuachi. Note the spacecraft may be denoted by feathers which would indicate flight-the feathers of the condor. The symbols on either side must indicate information about the two landing areas that have been discussed. Upon reaching the Nazca area we would see the Nazca symbols on the ground and the runways ( ray centers) and could land there. The distance from the Candelabra to the ancient astronaut landing areas in Nazca is a little over 103 miles.

Possible Landing Areas

The hummingbird appears to have been carved out of rock (remember we are on top of a plateau). In Mesoamerican culture the hummingbird could be a god. And there was even a hummingbird talisman, which was emblematic for vigor, energy and propensity to do work. In one case it is in a creation myth having to do with the formation of water. This hummingbird carved out of a level surface could mean something either to the ancient astronauts or to the Nazca- a place where water could be found.  But the beak could also be pointing at the landing area next to it.

The Hummingbird

Another interesting site a few miles west of Cahuachi is the Estaqueria. Some believe it was a zodiac observatory others think it had to do with the preparations for mummifying bodies.

The Estaqueria
But many believe the Estaqueria to be a Nazca solar observatory, which was built on platforms made of adobe and columns of “huarongas” trunks (a variety of tree).

Arial View of the Estaqueria
 You can see from this image that the layout was extensive. Erick von Daniken even went so far as to draw a floor plan for this observatory and it is quite interesting to say the least.

The Solar Observatory (The Estaqueria)

But now since the time of the Nazca the stars that were aligned to objects in the desert have moved. So we now have two-fold problem, deciding which creatures designate stars and finding the stars that was designated by these creatures. It is the same case with the solar observatory of 2,000 years ago-the stars have moved and so it would be out of alignment too, and we can only guess what creatures the Nazca used as their constellations (other than the spider). Erich van Daneken, author of the controversial best selling book “Chariots of the Gods ?” proposed and popularized the idea that ancient astronauts were responsible for building many of the worlds ancient landmarks including the Nazca lines and the pyramid at Cahuachi. He argued that the huge geometric geoglyphs (ray centers and trapezoids) can be understood as cosmic airfields, but built to the instructions of the ancient astronauts. Other enormous ground drawings supposedly function as signal for the ETs, who Van Daneken described as human-like. According to this theory, the ancient astronauts visited Peru’s southern desert in ancient times, then departed, upon which the native population continued to build geoglyphs in an attempt to woo the aliens back. The Nazca may have believed that they were worshipping gods, and if we replace the word gods with ET “we have hit the nail on the head”(EvD).

The Cahauchi Pyramid

One of the questions concerns the following question: How did man decide to build pyramids in completely different parts of the Earth without any communication between cultures ? Egypt and Mesopotamia had pyramids now Peru had them as did Mesoamerica. It is a perplexing notion and in a few (not all) cases may indicate the presence of ancient astronauts, but this one piece of evidence by itself is not sufficient unless something extraordinary was found. The pyramids (no matter where they are ) could represent mankind’s first skyscrapers. Naturally archeologists and others involved in the investigation of the Nazca Lines say there is no evidence to suggest that ancient astronauts are responsible for the Nazca lines and designs on the plain. Generally speaking if something were discovered it would become proprietary and remain secret for a long time before a scientist would release that information openly to the general public. When he does his theories must withstand the criticism of his peers. Then there are governments who would frown on releasing the evidence of the past presence of ET  -since they deny their presence now.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lines In The Desert Plains Chapter 9: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

Some of the Nazca art on the desert plains to a certain extent can be explained.

The Astronaut

The Nazca astronaut was discovered by Eduardo Herron in 1982 and it is 32 meters in length. The astronaut-an oval headed figure, looking quite human, with a waving hand and orb-like eyes, may have earned its nickname due to one of the theories about the lines, his purpose should be obvious designating to the ancient astronauts that they were in the right area. The Nazca made it to show they were friendly- a hand waving a way of wooing them back after they had left as one theory goes. One wonders about the relationship of the ancient astronauts with the Nazca. What did each get out of the deal that made the relationship possible ? The ancient astronauts may have taken advantage of the Nazca worship of the mountain god Apu, When the Nazca built the landing areas, the ancient astronauts in the guise of Apu would tell them where water could be found in the desert or foothills to the east. This is the first theory concerning the use of local deities.

The Killer Whale
 The killer whale was commonly depicted in the mythical creation of the Nazca culture. It appears on pottery as well as carved into the ground. Sometimes, it is shown carrying a human head, but its depiction in the desert lacks this feature. Killer whales feature strongly in the mythologies of indigenous cultures. It had a reputation for being a fearless predator and must have been seen frequently off the coast of the Nazca.

The Spider

The spider is over 150 feet long, the spider was drawn with a single continuous half mile-long line. The Nazca may have benefited from spiders eating insects on their crops. There are still some Peruvians who believe that the drawings of spiders are magical. But according to Phillis Pitluga the spider was a diagram of the constellation Orion. Spiders were worshipped by the Moche people who worshipped nature. They placed an emphasis on animals but often depicted spiders. Spiders symbolized patience as well as mischief and malice. and the painful death they could cause. The people who saw the ancient astronauts wondered where they came from so the Nazca could have given them a place of origin-Orion. The ancient astronauts would have given them instructions on how to build the runways (ray centers) they needed. The task would have been simple enough to obey. They would not have needed an advanced technology, but advanced knowledge of how to do it. A new way to make designs on the desert plains using the everyday the tools they already had!

The Condor


Another animal depicted on the desert plain is the Andean Condor. Found on adjacent Pacific coasts of western South America. It has the largest wingspan of any bird. The condor is primarily a scavenger (a vulture). It is the national symbol of Peru and plays an important part in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions. It has been represented in Andean art as for back as 2500 B.C. In Andean society the Andean Condor was associated with the sun deity and was believed to be the ruler of the upper world. The Andean Condor was considered a symbol of power and health by many Andean cultures. It was believed that the bones of this condor had medicinal powers. The ancient astronauts could have taken advantage of this particular deity or have been seen by the Nazca as this deity because of the flight of their spacecraft. It would have been scary for them and that may have been the first thought that came to the Nazca mind when they saw them flying to overhead and landing nearby-the sun god and the ruler of sky. This is the second theory concerning the use of local deities.

The Dog
Another animal depicted on the desert plain is the dog. Actual dog worship is uncommon, but this object could have been made through Moche influence or it could have been one of the Nazca constellations.

The Monkey

Then there is the monkey. More than likely the monkey drawn on the plain was a representation of a Spider monkey or the Capuchin monkey. Both of which are common in South America. It must be assumed here that this geoglyph was in the same situation as the dog -influenced by the Moche culture or a Nazca constellation.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lines In The Desert Plains Chapter 8: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

Archeoastronomy is the study of how people in the past “have understood the phenomena in the sky,” how they used the phenomena in the sky, and what role did the sky play in their culture. Archeoastronomy uses a variety of methods to uncover evidence of past practices including, archeology, anthropology, astronomy, statistics, probability, and history. Because methods as these are diverse and use data from different sources the problem of integrating them into a coherent argument has been a long-term issue for archeoastronomers. Material evidence and its connection to the sky can reveal how a wider landscape can be integrated into beliefs and about the cycles of nature. Other examples which have brought together ideas of cognitions and landscape include studies of the cosmic order in roads, settlements, pottery, textiles and art.

The Trapezoid
 Take for instance the Trapezoid. It appears to be a cosmic runway that funnels into a single line. Does this line have a significance ? This line points to the southwest. One wonders whether they are at the beginning or end of this cosmic runway from this view. There is a group of them about 3.42-4.67 miles northeast of Cahuachi.   Could this be the reason for their location. They appear to be set up in a way where one spacecraft could be landed on each one. The ancient astronauts would have told the Nazca where to construct their landing areas.

Nazca Pottery depicting an Eclipse of the Sun

Some of the symbols the Nazca used could have been associated with the Planet Venus, similar to that in Caral in northern Peru. They built a building with a circular tower and doors facing the 4 cardinal directions, the base faced the most northerly setting of Venus. Additionally the high pillars on the buildings upper platform were painted black and red, colors associated with Venus as evening and morning star. Maria Reiche theorized that the builders of the lines used the lines as a sun calendar and an observatory for astronomical cycles. She worked alone in her home nearby in the modern city of Nasca. She published her theories in a book entitled “The Mystery of the Desert,’ which received mixed reviews by scholars.

It is my belief that clans or families constructed some of the geoglyphs to their own gods. Since there are 300 designs on the desert floor it is my belief that clans and families made many of them for that purpose. The Nazca worshiped a mountain god which was supposed to give them water. The name of the mountain god was Apu. In the mythology of Peru, Apus or spirits of the mountains protected the local people.

Shrine to Apu
The name Apu has five definitions: (1) A god or supreme being. (2) A sacred mountain as a house for their ancestors (3) A chief, a figure of authority (4) A light being that existed within a special mountain that could intercede for the people. In order not to offend this god the ancient Peruvian people would draw designs on the mountain about a project they were doing concerning the materials they were taking from that mountain (see above on rock). So some of the designs on the desert plains may include this also-especially if they were digging to find an aquifer in nearby mountains and adding an aqueduct to bring it down. All of the Nazca aqueducts were built underground and only came to the surface in a special pool area. They are the underground channels that I referred to earlier called paquios
A Nazca Aqueduct pool (paquios)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lines In The Desert Plains Chapter 7: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

Paul Kosok an American scientist and historian traveled to Peru to see the Nazca Lines in 1941.

Paul Kosok

He observed the Sun setting directly over the long lines in the plain. He was struck by the idea that the lines could be looking at the position of the Sun and other stars at different times of the year-an immense astronomical calendar written on the ground. He began to map out all the objects in the Nazca Lines. He was joined by Maria Reiche who was a mathematician and archeologist.

Maria Reiche

She became his assistant and took an interest in his idea and spent much of her time among the geoglyphs in this new astronomical context. They advanced the theory that the lines purpose was related to astronomy and cosmology, the lines were intended to act as a type of observatory, pointing where the Sun arose and set and of other celestial bodies. When Kosok left in 1948 Rieche continued to map the Nazca Lines until she completed the work. Reiche’s protégé Phillis Pitluga an astronomer believed, based on computer aided studies of star alignments, the giant spider figure is an anamorphic (a distorted projection) diagram of the constellation Orion.

The Constellation Orion
She further suggested that the lines leading to the figure were used to track the changing declinations of the three stars of Orion’s belt, but did not take into account the other 16 lines.

The Spider
 The head, thorax, and abdomen of the spider represent the three stars in Orion’s belt, each limb accounts for two lines for a total of 16 lines altogether.

Orion's Belt
Two archeoastronomers who visited the site disagreed with her. The constellation Orion is one of the most recognizable in the night sky. It is associated with a large region of space, as well as a pattern of bright stars like Rigel, Betelgeuse and Sirius. The Big Dipper or Ursa Major, was known by the ancients as consisting of seven stars. The Pleiades the nearest star cluster , along with the Planets Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were all known to ancient man. The Maya the only PreColumbian civilization in the Americas to possess the ability to write, left behind a star calendar and a zodiac of their own and knew of all these stars and planets. So the Nazca may have had a knowledge of them too, but in their own particular way. Maybe the ancient astronauts always appeared from the direction of this constellation.

I believe a number of things took place where the Nazca Lines were made, each with a different purpose. I think what we have here is a juxtaposition of artistic objects on the desert plain with five possible reasons for their construction: Religion, cosmology, agriculture(nature cycles), irrigation, and the presence of ancient astronauts. Not all of these objects were made in one generation. The Nazca culture lasted over 700 years, and thus each generation could have added to the objects on the desert plain. It is also safe to say many did not survive the passage of time, and what we see is a large fragment of what they made. The controversial Swiss writer Erich von Danekin suggested the Nazca Lines represented higher technological knowledge indicated by the geoglyphs.

Erich von Danekin

He maintained that the Nazca Lines (ray centers) were runways. That these served as runways for the ancient astronauts. A very obvious deduction if we look at the following ray center:

Ray center that could have been used by the ancient astronauts as a landing area

There is no evidence that the Nazca had a technological knowledge that was superior to their neighbors. But the ray centers or runways indicate interesting possibilities. Maria Reiche made a determined effort to discredit theories of extraterrestrial visitors. She believed that the Nazca constructed the lines between 300 B.C.-700 A.D. This was based on the radio carbon dates of ceramic and wood remains which were left behind by the Nazca. The dating only proves the Nazca lived in the area, but the lines themselves cannot be radio carbon dated. The possibility remains that the lines already existed when the Nazca culture emerged. This latter theory would change the story considerably, but there is no evidence to support this theory.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lines In the Desert Plains Chapter 6: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are a series of geometric shapes, miles of lines, and large drawings of animal figures (some as large as a football field) constructed on the desert floor. Many theories have surrounded these geometric shapes in the Nazca desert. The Nazca designs cover nearly 400 square miles of desert. Etched in the surface of the desert plains or pampas. About 300 figures, straight lines, and geometric shapes are observable from the air.

Actrual Locations of Geoglyphs among the Nazca Lines
Some believe that the enormous lines could not have been drawn by man. The truth is that with a large number of people and with a long enough period of time it would have been possible to construct the lines. By extending a rope between two posts and by removing the red iron ore stones, the lighter sand beneath the surface would make the lines visible from above.

A Closeup of a Nazca Line

They may not have needed to fly over their art to inspect the work. Supposedly the art object on the desert floor was a message to their god. To see the work all one had to do was build a wooden tower high enough to overlook the scene, then the tower could have been moved to observe each part of the work. The tower would be removed upon completion and saved for the next project in the desert. Another alternative solution was proposed by Jim Woodman. He believed the Nazca Lines could not have been made without some form of manned flight to see the figures properly. Based on what materials that were available to the Nazca, that they could have built a hot-air balloon to see it properly. So he made one which almost disastrously crashed among the Nazca Lines:

Jim Woodman's Nazca Hot air balloon

There is no precedent for hot-air balloons among any ancient natives in the area, including the Nazca. No evidence has ever been found that the Nazca used hot-air balloons.

Due to the simplistic construction of the geoglyphs, regular amounts of rainfall
would have easily eroded the artwork, but the dry almost windless desert environment has preserved much of it for hundreds of years. The purpose of the lines remain debatable. Some believe they were created for their gods to look upon from above, while others suggest that the lines were some sort of calendar with astronomical alignments to aid planting and harvesting of crops. Others believe the lines had a religious purpose and had to be walked in, in a religious ceremony which is quite possible. Attempts at dating of the lines that were dug have been difficult. Experts in the fields of Anthropology, Archeology, and Astronomy have all studied the lines, but no evidence has been found to support any of the above explanations.

The Nazca created a hydraulic system to sustain life in an exceedingly arid environment, and some of the ditches can be seen near the lines. The exact date of the construction of the paquios (underground channels)has been under contention for some time. Dating them has been quite difficult because of the materials used in their construction.
A Nazca Well

With the use of an accelerator mass spectrometer analysis on the varnish on the rocks inside the piquios, have placed their construction between 1-500 A.D . The irrigation system was made of underground channels, which tapped into the subsurface water beneath the ground.

A Nazca Paquios or Underground Channel

The Nazca used river rocks, they did not use mortar to make the paquios. So that the water would pass in channels. Water was transported to irrigation canals for crops, or deposited into small reservoirs (kochas) for later use. It is difficult to tell how long these channels were in use, because extant paquios have been altered and are too dangerous to explore underground. One scholar believes the lines themselves have something to do with the location of the aquifers the Nazca used. In the following photo he is taking a measurement for some possible underground water channels that lead to an aquifer:

Others believe the zigzags have something to do with the boundaries in the desert where water could or could not be found. Some of the lines could be trails leading to a aquifer or over a paquios:

Nazca Zigzag Lines

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lines On the Desert Plains Chapter 5: An investigation of the Nazca Lines

The Nazca culture flourished beside the dry southeast coast of Peru close to the Rio Grande de Nazca in the Ica Valley:
Map of Nazca Line Area

The Nazca produced an array beautiful crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs, the latter most commonly known as the Nazca Lines. Early Nazca society was made up of local chieftains with its regional power center in Cahuachi. 

Cahuachi overlooked some of the Nazca Lines like the ones below:

Ray Center Near Cahauchi
This nearby ray center could have been a landing site for the Ancient Astronauts adjacent to Cahuachi, where it would have been easy for them to meet with the Nazca. Cahuachi contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. A pyramid is at the center of a huge architectural complex covering o.6 miles . The permanent population was small and was probably the site where their biggest religious ceremonies took place.
Cahauchi Adobe Pyramid

Cahuachi became a pilgrimage center and grew greatly in population when major ceremonial-religious events took place. These events probably invoked the Nazca Lines and the Great Sand Dune of Nazca. Support for the pilgrimage theory comes from archeological evidence at Cahuachi and from the Nazca Lines which shows such creatures as the orca and monkeys. It is thought that Cahuachi was the capitol of the Nazca State, and if not that then the closest thing to one. Cahuachi lies in the lower portion of the Nazca Valley and was initially occupied during the late Paracas Period. It is entirely unique of all the Nazca sites. Excavations at Cahuachi have given archeologists insight into the Nazca culture. The remains that are found are large amounts of polychrome pottery, there is evidence of maize, squash, beans, peanuts, as well as some fish, plain and fancy textiles, trace amounts of gold in their beads and an array of ritual paraphernalia.

Nazca Polychrome Ceramic Orca

Much of Nazca art depicts powerful nature gods, such as the killer whale and the spotted cat, and serpentine creatures, which was the most prevalent of worshipped figures. Similar to the Moche culture, the shamans apparently used hallucinogenic drugs taken from the San Pedro Cactus to induce visions, which is depicted on their pottery and textiles.

The Nazca were head-hunters. There is a debate over the purpose of trophy heads which continues to this day. Whether they were trophies of war or objects of ritual. Trophy heads all had one common modification - a hole in the forehead through which a rope could be affixed permanently so that the head could be displayed or carried. The Nazca believed that the spirit was located in the head.

A Nazca Trophy Head

The Nazca, like all Pre-Columbian societies in South America, including the Inca, had no writing system so they did not write in the alphabetic sense,  this is one of the reasons that makes it so hard to study them. In the case where a culture has no writing system and no method of written communication, the method of sending a message had to be through their artwork, on their ceramics, on their architectural structures-and the Nazca Lines. Here cognitive archeology focuses on the way ancient societies thought and the symbolic structures that are perceived in past material culture. The way that these abstract ideas are manifested through the remains that these people left behind, can be investigated and debated often by drawing inferences from such fields as semiotics (the study of the sign processes-signs and symbols), psychology and wider sciences (such as engineering and mathematics). Thus the iconography or symbols painted on their ceramics served as a means of communication-motifs came in two major categories-sacred and profane, and since there is no one left alive who is a direct descendant of this culture- to pass on these traditions -we must rely on the evidence the Nazca left behind.
Small Nazca Village

The village’s name is Pueblo Veiejo it is located about 2 miles south of Cahauchi. The Nazca Lines are located a little over 31 miles east of the Pacific coast.