среда, 08. децембар 2010.

Nasca Lines Decoded


Since their discovery in the 1920s, the Nasca lines have remained shrouded in mystery. Why were they constructed? What purpose did they ultimately serve? Over the years, the Nasca puzzle has inspired a number of colorful hypotheses.

Astronomical theory

In 1941, history professor Paul Kosok traveled to Nasca to see the famous geoglyphs and happened to observe the sun setting directly over one of the long pampa lines. He was struck by the idea that the lines could be linked to the positions of the sun and other stars at different times of the year—an immense astronomical calendar written on the ground, or as Kosok put it, “the largest astronomy book in the world.”

A German mathematics teacher, Maria Reiche, took an interest in Kosok’s idea and spent much of her life studying the Nasca geoglyphs in this new astronomical context and fighting to preserve them, becoming a legendary figure in southern Peru for her unflagging efforts.

However, subsequent analyses by astronomers Gerald Hawkins and Anthony Aveni have conclusively demonstrated any connections between the Nasca lines and certain stars to be statistically insignificant and therefore meaningless.

Aliens theory

Erich von Däniken, author of the best-selling book Chariots of the Gods?, proposed and popularized the idea that aliens were responsible for building many of the ancient world’s greatest landmarks, including the Nasca lines. He argues that the huge geometric geoglyphs (e.g. trapezoids) can be understood as “an airfield... built according to instructions from an aircraft.” Other enormous ground drawings supposedly functioned as signals to the extraterrestrials, who are described by van Däniken as “human-like beings with golden, shimmering skins.”

According to this theory, the aliens visited Peru’s southern desert in ancient times, then departed, upon which the native population continued building the geoglyphs in an attempt to woo the aliens back. The Nasca people may have believed they were worshipping the gods, but van Däniken concludes: “If we just replace the little word ‘gods’ with ‘extraterrestrials’ we’ve finally hit the nail on the head.”

Needless to say, archaeologists and other scientists have found no evidence to suggest that aliens visited the Peruvian desert or were responsible for the construction of the lines.

Subterranean water theory

This more recent theory put forward by researcher David Johnson links the Nasca geoglyphs to sources of underground water that would have been critical to desert-dwelling people. Johnson believes that many geometric geoglyphs mark the locations of geological faults bearing flows of subterranean water. In other words, the Nasca lines can be viewed as a complex map of underground water resources.

Some shapes, such as trapezoids, were built directly over the top of these faults, while others merely point in their direction, and still others mark the boundaries of these aquifers or the places where the water flow changes direction.

While this hypothesis is intriguing, most archaeologists believe Johnson lacks the evidence to prove his case.


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