Nazca Lines and Ancient Aircraft: How Best to Explain These Giant Desert Drawings?
What are they?
The Nazca lines continue to get attention from all sides. Since the 1500’s they have been marveled at by tourists, researchers, anthropologists, archaeologists, and even Spanish Conquistadors. The lines, found in the desert of southern Peru, can more correctly be described as geoglyphs. Etched into the dirt, the lines portray birds, animals, insects, machine like designs, geometric precision, and, to some investigators, possible evidence of unexpectedly advanced technology.
How were they made?
The Nazca Spider
The lines were made by the Nazca people some 2000 years ago by removing the topsoil, a course red color, to reveal the white or gray clay beneath. Thanks to the desert’s climate, dry and windless, and the isolation of the area, these figures have survived to be studied and wondered at even today. And wonder we should; the figures are huge. The largest measure up to 1200 feet and can be seen from nearby cliffs and over passing aircraft. What purpose could the Nazca have had in creating these designs?
What were they for?
Researchers disagree. Some imbue the lines with religious significance. Others claim they were involved in irrigation. A few even claim they were used to construct enormous looms. But the most interesting theories, by far, are those concerning air travel and even space flight. Amongst the geometric designs are many long, unusually straight lines. Looking at them from a modern point of view, one cannot help but think of runways. Combining straight, runway like pathways and intricate designs meant to be seen from above seem to hint at something strange and wonderful happening within the Nazca culture. It’s possible the Nazca people could have made simple gliders or even more complex machinery which allowed them to take flight. While not the only way to create such large designs in the earth, the lines seem to reinforce the notion that these crafts were possible. Some experimental archaeologists have even attempted to create hot air balloons using local resources with some degree of success. And supporting this idea are also a collection of small gold pieces called the Tolima artifacts.
Sometimes referred to as Quimbaya artifacts, these worked golden figures were found in Colombia and, like the Nazca lines, represent animals and birds in stylized ways. To the contemporary eye, these stylizations look less like birds or insects and more like aircraft. In fact, experiments have been done by German engineers Peter Belting and Conrad Lubbers are creating and testing crafts based on the so-called “Tolima aircraft, ” those portion of the artifacts which more resemble machinery than living things. These models were able to fly, albeit in modified forms when scaled up to life size. Could the Nazca people have had aircraft technology? Or was there something strange going on in the Peruvian desert?
Visitors from Heaven!
The most unusual theories regarding the Nazca lines are perhaps the most interesting. Some theorize contact between the Nazca people and more advanced civilizations, possibly from another world. These people cite the evidence above as well as the stranger, less well-explained glyphs which cannot easily be confirmed as plants or animals. Some of these look like tools. Others can be interpreted as unknown biological creatures. Whatever they are, they will continue to confuse and delight the archaeological community for years to come.