Thanks to satellite images, scientists believe they have a good hypothesis for the mystery behind the ancient Nazca lines.
Knowing the reason for these geoglyphs, which on some occasions measure up to 275 meters in length, remains one of the great enigmas for experts, who are struggling to find an explanation.Imagine leaning out of an airplane window and seeing a 1,200-foot hummingbird carved out of the ground.
Now imagine realizing that the design was carved sometime between AD 1 and 700. C. This was how the Western world first learned about the Nazca lines.
Located in the southern desert region of Peru. The lines range from spirals to intricate designs like monkeys, llamas, and flowers. Some of the drawings reach 365 meters ( that is, more than three football fields ) which means that they are best seen from above, from an airplane or a satellite.
However, the lines were created long before airplanes and satellites, which has caused generations of scholars to wonder why they were created, particularly if the Nazca were unable to enjoy the work in all its splendor.
Thanks to satellite images, scientists think they have a good hypothesis for the mystery behind the lines.
They were related to the most valuable resource in the desert: water.
“The Nazca, were able to use groundwater for irrigation and aqueducts to benefit their agricultural activity; this is how the Nazca were able to transform the desert into a garden”,
said Rosa Lasaponara , a researcher at the National Research Council in Rome .
Lasaponara co-wrote a study last year that used satellite images to investigate some of the unusual structures found in the landscape near the Nazca lines: spiral-shaped holes called puquios .
The images allowed the researchers to see below the surface and identify subterranean channels of water connecting these spiral holes, realizing that they were part of an advanced and ancient aqueduct system.
Groundwater was channeled through canals to the parts of the region where the Nazca lived and farmed. The water was propelled in part by these spiral puquios, which caused the wind to pass through the underground channels to push the water through the system.It is a huge discovery, because it lends credence to a theory that many scientists already had about the Nazca lines: they were ceremonial and related to water . Since the nearby structures were part of a sophisticated water system, it makes sense that the ritualistic designs were made to mark the location of water and/or give thanks for the availability of water.